Lake Sturgeon Trailer
In 2012, we were approached by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put a Lake Sturgeon streamside rearing trailer on UPPCO property near the Bergland Dam. They also requested to withdraw water from Lake Gogebic. The purpose of the trailer is to raise Lake Sturgeon in water from the Ontonagon River Watershed. Lake Sturgeon raised in water from a specific watershed are “imprinted” with that watershed.
First, eggs are harvested by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Lake Sturgeon netted below UPPCO’s Prickett Dam. Then the eggs are fertilized. The fertilized eggs are placed in tanks in the trailer. Fresh water is pumped from the river and passed through the tanks while the larvae and fingerlings are fed and allowed to grow.
After the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases the sturgeon to the river, they continue to grow to a size of about 5-8 inches and swim into Lake Superior and continue to grow. When it is time for the fish to spawn, they return to the Ontonagon River Watershed that was “imprinted” on them at birth. Lake Sturgeon are vital to the fish community and these efforts help to increase the population.
At UPPCO, we love fish, and we love fishing. Each year, we help the Escanaba River Association plant fish in the Escanaba River through funding and some hands-on help. In total, about 4,000 fish have been planted, including rainbow, brown and brook trout. The stocked fish are adults that range in size from 7 to 15 inches long. On an everyday basis, we operate all of our hydroelectric facilities to balance the needs of healthy fish and other aquatic species populations with the production of renewable hydroelectric power.