Habitat Selection and Dispersal of Lake Sturgeon in Missouri River Tributaries:
Implications for Species Recovery and a Future Recreational Fishery


    1) Determine distribution, movement, and site fidelity of adult Lake Sturgeon
    2) Determine habitat selection of adult Lake Sturgeon in the Osage and Gasconade rivers
    3) Determine dispersal of stocked Lake Sturgeon

Lake Sturgeon have been listed as endangered in Missouri since 1974, and recovery efforts have been underway since the 1980s and have included primarily stocking fingerling fish in the mainstem big rivers and tributaries. However, there is a critical need to evaluate these management actions to guide future restoration efforts, particularly understanding the spawning requirements, dispersal, and movement of Lake Sturgeon in large river tributaries as MDC considers future recreational fisheries for Lake Sturgeon. This study will contribute to meeting the three goals of the Missouri Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan. MDC will use the information in determining the feasibility of a future recreational fishery for Lake Sturgeon either on select tributaries, on the big rivers, or a combination of both. Information about movement and dispersal of hatchery-reared Lake Sturgeon will be used in the decision making process to determine if the number, location, and frequency of stocking is meeting the Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan objectives associated with establishing a self-sustaining population. The study will primarily be conducted through telemetry of several hundred adult and stocked Lake Sturgeon that will be tagged in the Osage and Gasconade rivers over the next four years. 


  • Investigator: Michael Moore, PhD student
  • Advisor: Dr. Craig Paukert
  • Funding: Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC)
  • Collaborators: Travis Moore, Del Lobb, Sara Tripp, Dave Herzog: MDC
  • Location: Gasconade and Osage rivers, central Missouri
  • Expected Date of Completion: July 2021