Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Vermont
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Izzo, L.K., G.B. Zydlewski, J.E. Marsden, and D.L. Parrish. 2022. Seasonal movements and spatial overlap of juvenile and adult lake sturgeon in Lake Champlain. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society.


The Lake Sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens is a large, long-lived, potamodromous species that is widely distributed throughout freshwater systems in the central part of North America. In this study, we used acoustic telemetry to examine seasonal distribution and movement patterns of endangered Lake Sturgeon in Lake Champlain, Vermont. Acoustic tags were implanted in 29 juvenile (453–874 mm TL) and 19 adult Lake Sturgeon (1215–1615 mm TL) from the Winooski River and nearby areas of Lake Champlain between 2015 and 2019; tags were detected with 23 passive acoustic receivers deployed in the river and delta area and an additional 34 throughout Lake Champlain. Home range analysis using a lattice-based density estimator (LDE) indicated that the size of juvenile home ranges was the same as adult home ranges in spring and summer but was statistically larger than adult home ranges in winter (Mann Whitney U-test, P < 0.05). Cumulative home range analysis showed that juvenile and adult home ranges overlapped in shallow (< 10 m) water in the summer and fall. In winter and spring, cumulative home ranges from juveniles included deep-water sites (> 25 m), while adults remained in shallow water near the mouth of their spawning river. Some juveniles (n = 7) made long-range movements (18–34 km) during the winter and spring months, and some juveniles (n = 13) moved back into the lower section of their natal river after overwintering in Lake Champlain. This study is the first to directly compare adult and juvenile Lake Sturgeon distribution, home range size, movements, and habitat use in a large lake system, and provides a baseline for further research on the movement ecology of Lake Sturgeon in Lake Champlain.