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Lake Sturgeon Project

Fishing Regulations Icon Tennessee Fishing

Lake sturgeon are a primitive species that can grow to eight feet in length, weigh up to 300 pounds, and live 150 years. Since 2000, over 281,427 lake sturgeon have been stocked into the French Broad and Holston rivers near Knoxville and the Cumberland River near Nashville. These stocking efforts are part of a long-term program designed to restore reproducing populations of this primitive species to Tennessee waters. This species is known to travel long distances, so it is very likely that anglers could catch lake sturgeon in waters of the state other than where they were stocked. Angler reports are important to TWRA because they provide important movement and growth information needed to monitor the success of Tennessee’s lake sturgeon reintroduction program.

Since 2006, TWRA has issued 577 certificates to anglers for reporting the catch and release of lake sturgeon in Tennessee.

If you catch a lake sturgeon, please be as careful as possible not to harm the fish—avoid holding lake sturgeon by their tails and remember that fish cannot breathe while they are out of the water. Lake sturgeon are endangered in Tennessee and should be released immediately. If possible, note an approximate length before the fish is released. Additionally, TWRA would appreciate a picture of your lake sturgeon catch if you can take one without harming the fish.

In appreciation of your report, TWRA will issue you a numbered Lake Sturgeon Certificate (above) that features a color reproduction of a lake sturgeon drawn by renowned wildlife artist Joseph R. Tomelleri. If you catch a lake sturgeon please call the toll free number for your regional office (see TWRA Offices) or the Fisheries Division at (615) 781-6575. You will be asked to provide your name, address, and phone number and the following information about your catch: when and where you caught it, an approximate length, and what you were using for bait.

You can also email details (including photos) of your catch to sturgeon.reports@tn.gov. Refer to TWRA Offices for your local regional office number.