Sturgeon Festival

There is no other event like this in all of the Great Lakes because our sturgeon population is like no other in all of the Great Lakes! Organized by Friends of the St. Clair River, the annual Blue Water Sturgeon Festival is a collaboration of natural resource agencies, government, industry, scientists, and anglers connected by a shared goal of restoring fish and wildlife populations to higher levels of abundance in the St. Clair River.

Sturgeon Festival is a free one-day event centered on providing close encounters with the “Giants of the Great Lakes”. Typically held the last weekend in May, guests can browse a dozen indoor & outdoor displays with hands-on activities, drop-in a workshop, touch live sturgeon and other native fish, and get a glimpse of these prehistoric fish on our exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise. During the Sturgeon Cruise, guests can watch lake sturgeon swimming in the St. Clair River via live video feed by Gregory A.D. Big screen televisions on deck allow guests a personal view of the action. Enjoy the St. Clair River and the beautiful expanse of Lake Huron on this 2-hour cruise narrated by fisheries scientists and experts.

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Sturgeon are phenomenal to see up close because they reach enormous size - weighing up to 150 pounds, growing over 7 feet, and living over 100 years. Of the many historically known spawning sites throughout the Great Lakes, only two are known to be active, and both are in the St. Clair River.

Since the 1900’s, lake sturgeon populations have dramatically declined, not just from historical over-fishing, but from habitat alteration, industrialization of the Great Lakes, and increasing pollution levels, and as a result were added to the Michigan Threatened Species list. In recent years, the lake sturgeon has made something of a comeback. Collaborative efforts at righting environmental wrongs in the St. Clair River as well as the recent construction of three sturgeon spawning reefs in the river are improving fish population levels.
A healthy river system is not only important for our health, but for a diverse fish and wildlife population. We can use sturgeon as a spotlight species to gauge the health of the river, and with sturgeon numbers slowly on the rise we are assured that the health of the St. Clair River is also improving.

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