Black Lake Sturgeon Shivaree gets underway, More activities than ever under two tents

by Peter Jakey-Managing Editor

The 2015 Black Lake Strugeon Shivaree, held in conjunction with the annual sturgeon season, is today and Saturday along the northwest shore of Michigan’s seventh largest inland lake. Strugeon spearing season opens at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The ice is more than a foot thick and the weather conditions should be bearable.

Sturgeon for Tomorrow president Brenda Archambo said Thursday that the fish have been moving.

“That might equate to a short sturgeon season,” said Archambo. “Often, when the sturgeon are out feeding, they could lay low for up to a week and not move.” It will likely be a quick season.”

The quota is five this year. Registration will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today at the Department of Natural Resources field station along M-211. After today, registration is at the registration trailer on Zolner Road.

The Shivaree events start Friday with music, as well as registration for the fishing contest and poker run.

Additionally, Friday will include a native American drum ceremony to honor the fish that are available for harvest. “That is important culturally,” said Archambo. There also will be some Cheboygan students releasing sturgeon that were raised in the classroom.

“It’s a way to break cabin fever,” said Archambo. “Come out to the tents and visit with people and watch the fish come in.” DNR staff will be nearby monitoring the progress of the sturgeon spearing season that runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first day. If four are caught on the first day, the DNR will not continue the next day for only one sturgeon.

Archambo said the Shivaree had to expand to two tents, because there was not enough room in one. “We had several thousand people,” she added. Parking will be available on the lake

There will be kids’ games and an ice rescue and hovercraft demonstration by the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department from 1 to 3 p.m. The access is near the former Black Lake Hotel.

Anglers 17 years of age or older must possess a valid Michigan fishing license. In addition, all anglers must possess a lake sturgeon tag, available for free from all license vendors. Anglers must have both of these prior to registering for the Black Lake sturgeon season.

The 2015 angler registration process will be similar to what was enacted in 2014. Anglers need to register only once for the entire season.  Anglers unable to participate in the Friday registration may register only at the registration trailer at Zolner Road ending on Black Lake. Morning registration begins at 7 a.m. each day of the season. Anglers are highly encouraged to register Friday, Feb. 6.

Anglers will be issued a disposable flag at registration that must be displayed at the entrance of the angler’s shanty each day.

Anglers who harvest a lake sturgeon must immediately tag the fish and contact an on-ice DNR employee and register the fish at the Zolner Road trailer registration site on Black Lake. Registration may include an examination of the sturgeon’s internal organs and removal of a piece of fin tissue for DNA analysis and aging.