With sturgeon I first met in Quebec, before their catch is not accounted for. But very quickly mastered the local sturgeon fishing on the Donk, visited several places of worship catches.
In General, for a few years fishing in Montreal repeatedly caught sturgeon as an additional catch not only a ground rod, but in spinning and was targeted opportunities in specific points of fishing. So some personal opinion on the sturgeon and how to catch them I got.
To begin with, that North America has its own local “natives”, which you can catch in different areas of the North American continent. World famous white sturgeon, which is the largest freshwater fish in North America. He lives in the Western part of the continent, the rivers of the Pacific water basin. In Canada, the most famous main river, British Columbia – the Fraser river (eng.- The Fraser River), where there are gigantic specimens of white sturgeon.
Roundnose sturgeon (lat.- Acipenser brevirostrum) is found not only in States but also in the neighboring province of new Brunswick (river St. John). Green sturgeon or Pacific (lat.- Acipenser medirostris) are found in the rivers of the Pacific basin in China and Russia, and the United States and Canada.
The remnants of the once-existing world population are several species of shovelnose sturgeons, so called because of their flattened snouts. It’s the modern representatives of the subfamily leptosomidae (lat.- Scaphirhynchinae), which can also be found in Central Asia in the rivers of the Aral sea basin: Amudarya and Syrdarya. And if the Aral shovelnose situation is extremely critical (they are listed in the international red book), in the United States these fish live better. In Quebec, such fish will not meet.
Traditional objects when fishing for sturgeon in Quebec are two types of lacustrine and Atlantic. Sometimes we come to visit the fishermen from the neighboring province of Ontario specifically to catch sturgeon, as in Ontario, the sturgeon recently have been banned. Therefore, to know and distinguish local species of sturgeon it is necessary, especially for lake sturgeon a limit on its size.
1. Lake sturgeon
Lake sturgeon (lat.- A. fulvescens Acipenser) at FR.- Esturgeon jaune, in English.- Lake Sturgeon. Also popular is the local name for the French.- Esturgeon de lac, camus, escargot maillé, charbonnier.
The body is torpedo-like, elongated shape. The back and sides varies from olive-brown to gray; belly white; fins dark brown or gray. The snout is elongated with 4 antennae. The mouth is located at the bottom, vertically, behind the eyes.
Average length: 90 to 140cm, weight 5 to 35 kg. Females can live up to 80 years, males up to 55 years. At present sport fishing a limit on size from 80 to 130 cm
Prefers rocky bottom of rivers and lakes with a depth of 5 to 10 m. During the summer heat gets to great depths in search of cool water. Rarely enters brackish water.
Lake sturgeon are fed from the bottom, using their whiskers touch. It sucks in a large number of small organisms, such as mollusks, larvae of aquatic insects, crayfish, leeches, fish eggs, and some plants. He continues to eat in winter, so it can be captured during winter imitation fish, but cease to feed during their spawning migration.
Spawning occurs in late may – June. Prefers rivers with rapid current and a depth of from 0.6 to 5 m, rarely in lakes. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 8 to 20 years, reaching meter length. Females reach sexual zrelosti to 15-32 years, reaching 1.3 meters in length. It should be noted that lake sturgeon do not spawn every year. With the age of females, the interval between spawning may increase from 4 to 10 years.
The female usually accompanied by one or two males of a smaller size. Nests it builds. Just lays on the rocks and gravel from 100 to 900 thousand black eggs of diameter 2.7 to 3.5 mm. the Larvae hatch after 5-8 days.
In North America and in particular in Quebec zone habitat: rivers and lakes of the basin of the St. Lawrence river, just North from Montreal to James Bay.
In Quebec, lake sturgeon belong to vulnerable species, it has the status “may be designated as a sensitive species or a species under threat”. Currently, it is believed that this species is in a dangerous situation in the St. Lawrence river. Its population is stable only in a few very localized areas and not quickly enough restored.
The population in the lake Saint-françois (lac Saint-François) West of Montreal, was destroyed by the loss of spawning habitat and isolation of species due to dam construction and commercial fisheries in the past. The population in the lake of the Two Mountains (lac des Deux Montagnes), which was destroyed in the early 1950-ies, continues to recover.
The population on the part of the river corridor between lake Saint-Louis (lac Saint-Louis) and lake Saint-Pierre (lac Saint-Pierre) is characterized by high mortality associated with commercial exploitation of the reservoir, as well as high natural mortality due to contamination of water bodies. Places for spawning are very few and low quality. So around Montreal sturgeon not so much.
In General, in the North American habitat of the lake sturgeon, its fishery is experiencing serious problems due to excessive commercial fishing and degradation of habitats. In Quebec, the population of lake sturgeon declines, as late sexual maturity and herd behavior of sturgeon make it vulnerable to poaching and excessive fishing. Natural factors such as disease, predators, competition – affect sturgeon is much smaller than people.
2. Atlantic sturgeon
The Atlantic sturgeon (lat.- Acipenser oxyrinchus) in French.- Esturgeon noir, eng.- Atlantic sturgeon. Also popular is the local name for the French.- Esturgeon atlantique.
The Atlantic sturgeon is the biggest fish that frequents the fresh water of Quebec. It is the largest freshwater fish on the East coast of North America. At the biological level, it is of great scientific interest because of its origin, which has no less than 200 million years. Adults reach sizes of 2 meters, often up to 4 m. According to some estimates, the largest sturgeon, weighing 160 kg have an age of about 60 years.
The Atlantic sturgeon has a stocky, elongated body in the form of torpedoes. He’s got a long face and a vertical mouth, like all sturgeons. Sturgeon have a cartilaginous skeleton, no scales, only a few rows of bony plates. Back and sides bluish-black, belly and head bottom – white, there is white edging on the fins.
The Atlantic sturgeon is a migratory anadromous fish that spends much of its life in the sea, i.e., in salt water and in fresh water comes only for spawning. Often he visits the site of St. Lawrence from Portneuf (Portneuf) to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Reproduction of the Atlantic sturgeon occurs every 4-10 years for males and 2-4 years for males.
Sturgeon in fresh water feeds on the bottom, mostly crustaceans, insects and molluscs. At sea, it also feeds on shrimp and small fish. During spawning the sturgeon stop feeding, which its spawning grounds are not very well studied. At this time, it is possible to catch only networks, so it often goes unnoticed. A ground rod at this time he is caught very rarely.
Often Atlantic sturgeon can be seen jumping out of the water. There is a version that so he tries to get rid of external parasites, including sea lamprey.
In North America and particularly in the Quebec city area habitat! sturgeon: a first population to the East of Trois-rivières on the St. Lawrence river to the island of Anticosti (Île d Anticosti) and around it; the second on South from Gaspésie along the Atlantic coast of North America to Florida, inclusive.
As lake sturgeon, the Atlantic sturgeon is valued for the taste of its meat. Since the late 1960s had seen a decline in production in the commercial fisheries. Mainly due to the influence of a man who broke his environment: the construction of hydroelectric dams on the rivers Manicouagan (Manicouagan) and Etard (Outardes) near Baie-Comeau (Baie-Comeau), creating a sea canal, the structure of the Wharf in Portneuf (45 km East of Quebec city), nasypany artificial Islands and the use of pesticides for Expo 67 (Montreal).
After the almost complete cessation of commercial fishing between 1967 and 1975, we saw restoration of populations of Atlantic sturgeon. Spawning is still not very understood, but are currently under the observation of the individuals marked with transmitters. Dredging, changing the bottom topography and impurities are factors that lead to degradation of habitat of sturgeon.
Therefore, like the lake sturgeon, the Atlantic sturgeon is also related to vulnerable species. In Quebec his status “may be designated as a sensitive species or a species under threat”. However, there are no limits on catch size on him there, the more chance to catch him when sport fishing on the Donk very small upstream than the lake Saint-Pierre (lac Saint-Pierre), he comes very rarely.
The Atlantic sturgeon is commercially mined in the St. Lawrence river, mainly in the area between Montmagny (Montmagny) and Saint-Jean-port-Joli (Saint-Jean-Port-Joli). Water temperature is the main limiting factor for the fishery. During the summer heat, sturgeon are rapidly killed in the networks, the quality of meat is deteriorating. So in the middle of summer there is a “dead” season catches.
How to distinguish the Quebec sturgeon
Given the above about the habitat and feeding behavior of the Atlantic and lake sturgeon, a chance to catch Atlantic sturgeon around Montreal is very low. From the stories of local fishermen, I realized that many people simply do not know what kind of fish they catch…
In fact, the same lake sturgeon may have isolated populations, which in appearance and color are different from each other. Moreover, the juveniles of the lake sturgeon have some spots on the sides, which can be attributed to other species. The marsh species the snout is more obtuse in the river – it is more elongated. So around Montreal almost always catch one species – sturgeon lake, FR.- esturgeon jaune, in English.- lake sturgeon.
However, to distinguish the lake from the Atlantic sturgeon can be very easily. First, the lake sturgeon has no bony plates between the dorsal and tail fin; secondly, between the anal fin and the tail there are 2 of the bone plate.
Thirdly, the fins of Atlantic sturgeon banded white stripe. In Russia, widely known starlet – she also has a distinctive edging of the fins and tail.
If the white edging of the fins is not – it is with great confidence we can say that You caught the lake sturgeon. This is the easiest way to distinguish sturgeon, the presence or the presence of bony plates near the tail can only confirm.
Traditional sturgeon fishing on the Donk in Montreal
In Montreal and its surroundings, purposefully catch sturgeon traditionally at some points. In other places it is tuned from case to case. And although it may be early in the season to attack and jig-bait, still mostly sturgeon caught on the trout line, using a traditional installation for catching sturgeon.
I know the next point of fishing around Montreal: the lighthouse in Lachine, Parc Ile-de-Visitacion, power in Bournea (Beauharnois), the dam in Saint-Catherine (Sainte-Catherine) and Cape harbour Longue (Park Marie-Victorin). At different times it is quite possible to take sturgeon.
As a nozzle can be used: hearts, liver, meat, insects, the sooner you can use shrimp and pieces of fish, but the most popular use of a large beam of earthworms.
Sturgeon meat is traditionally used for Smoking, is considered to be very tasty and delicious. The caviar does not come across as the season opens, after the completion of spawning. In addition, the meat can be used for kebabs, cutlets and dumplings.