Oneida County Has Huge Roll in Replenishing Endangered Species
New York waters that once teemed with Lake Sturgeon, are once again seeing the historic fish. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been working with Federal and Local groups to replenish the threatened species since 1993 and Oneida County is playing a significant role in the rebirth.
Over-harvesting, man-made dams, and poor water quality led to the sturgeon's decline as their eggs were much sought after for caviar. Making the re-stocking project even more difficult is the fish's late maturity. Females don't reach sexual maturity until at least 14 years, and males don't reach it until at least 8 years old.
Every year the Oneida County Hatchery takes eggs from the NY Power Authority property in Massena raising them until they become fingerlings and then release them into area waters. This year, the DEC placed 4,000 sturgeons about 6 inches long in Upstate Waters.
- Black Lake
- Oswegatchie River
- St. Regis River
- Raquette River
- Salmon River
- Genesee River
- Oneida Lake
- St. Lawrence River at Massena and Ogdensburg.
- Chaumont Bay
- Cayuga Lake
Of course, catching sturgeon is illegal. The DEC is asking everyone to refrain from bottom fishing with worms in sturgeon waters to avoid accidentally catching one. Should you happen to hook one, release it as quickly as possible and try not to remove it from the water. Always support its full weight across its abdomen; don't hang it by the gills or tail and dont touch its gills or eyes.
Learn more about the threatened lake sturgeon at the DEC's website.