30 - 300 pounds
36" - 108"
The Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) or Rock Sturgeon is a freshwater gamefish found in almost all water systems across North America. It is also sometimes called the “Prehistoric Fish” as it’s been found that, according to fossil records, it already existed since the Cretaceous period about two hundred million years ago. They are also known for their long lifespan with males reaching up to fifty-five years while females can reach more than a century.
Aside from being the oldest native freshwater fish on the continent, it is also the largest. Females are often much bigger than males as they can measure up to nine feet long and weighing a little more than three hundred pounds. Males, on the other hand, have been known to reach only six feet in length. The biggest verified catch, however, measured eight feet long and weighed three hundred pounds. It was caught in Lake Michigan way back in 1943.
Lake Sturgeons easily be identified because of their rather menacing appearance as well as their size. These freshwater behemoths have a long, sleek body that’s greenish to grey in color. It doesn’t have scales, rather, rows of spiny plates on the sides that act as armor that protects them from abrasions and predators. Much like sharks and rays, most of their bones are cartilaginous, making their body a bit more flexible, which helps them fit into crevices at the bottom of lakes and rivers as they forage for food. And with the help of their four barbels (whisker-like organs) located in the front of their mouth, they can “feel” their way around the lake and river beds and locate their diet, which consists mainly of insects, worms, snails, crayfish, and small fishes.