In Idaho, there lives a toothless giant from the days of the dinosaurs that can live to be 100 years old and is characterized by its vacuum-like mouth, sensitive whiskers, small beady eyes and armor-like scales.
The White sturgeon can reach 15 feet long and weigh more than 1,100 pounds. There are eight species of sturgeon living in North America, but only White sturgeon are found in Idaho.
White sturgeon can be found throughout the Pacific Northwest from Alaska to California. In Idaho, they are present throughout the Snake River up to Shoshone Falls, and in the lower Salmon River. The Kootenai River also has a distinct White sturgeon population that is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Despite their wide distribution in Idaho, sturgeon face significant challenges from a history of overharvest and extensive changes to their river habitats.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game is working with Idaho Power and College of Southern Idaho in the middle Snake River to help conserve White sturgeon. Part of this effort involves stocking hatchery sturgeon from wild parents to help increase population numbers. The main goal is to ensure sturgeon populations are healthy and can continue to support recreational sport fishing.
Over the next seven weeks, Fish and Game will present a series of blog articles to take readers behind-the-scenes in what it takes to spawn these huge fish as part of this amazing program. Each article will show one step in the process from collecting adults to spawning, rearing and releasing juveniles.
“Many Idahoans don’t realize how much effort goes on behind the scenes when it comes to managing sturgeon populations in Idaho,” said Martin Koenig, Fish and Game’s sportfishing coordinator. “Our new blog features will be a great way to give folks a glimpse into the details behind some of our lesser-known conservation efforts.”
The first of the seven-part series is available now on Fish and Game’s Fishing page at https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish. The next article will posted Monday, September 12.