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Wrong-way sturgeon rescued

Wardens carry stranded sturgeon to safety.

The case of the wrong-way sturgeon started with a citizen phone call and ended with a happy sturgeon and true fish story about the one that didn't get away -- and that's good.

A resident of Seymour first saw the stranded sturgeon and knew something wasn't right about where it was -- which was in the Black Creek at Seymour Lake Park.

So the citizen called the local police department which, in turn called DNR Conservation Warden Mike Young. Warden Young then pulled together a crew and headed to the site.

Just for the record, this sturgeon was roughly 25 miles away from the rest of its spawning friends.

Once Warden Young and Conservation Wardens Ted Dremel and Bryan Harrenstein arrived, they found a large sturgeon swimming in the stream. The water level was dropping and the stream was blocked by a natural dam.

The sturgeon had nowhere to go. So, with net in hand, Young got into the water and, despite some elusive behavior from the fish, netted it. It took all three wardens and a police officer to pull the fish out of the water and carry her to the large tub in the back of Warden Young's truck.

"This is a wonderful example of how public cooperation can lead to positive results," Warden Young says. "By contacting authorities and not trying to remove this fish themselves, we were able to get the sturgeon back safely to its spawning grounds."

Young took the female sturgeon to Shiocton where fisheries staff assisted in handling her. The sturgeon measured a whopping 72 inches, weighed an estimated 100 pounds and was full of eggs, ready for spawning. They also checked her for an implanted tag biologists use to identify individual fish. This sturgeon didn't have one so they implanted one for her and recorded her information. She was then released back into the Wolf River to join the rest of the spawning sturgeon population.

This is a first for Warden Young.

"In my 20 years as a conservation warden, I have never seen a fish take a wrong turn and end up like this," he says. "She traveled up the Wolf River, into the Shioc River, and ended up in the Black Creek. It's strange for her to be so far away from the rest of the group, but we're glad to have gotten her to where she needed to be."

If you have information regarding natural resource violations, please call: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay reported information to conservation wardens. Anyone who calls the Violation Hotline or provides information can remain anonymous.