Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

TWRA's Region 4 - East Tennessee

Reservoir Fisheries Management Program

Lake Sturgeon Restoration


Lake Sturgeon

(Updated: March 25, 2013)

Lake sturgeon are a primitive fish easily identified by an unusual body shape and the presence of sharp bony plates along the back and sides. These fish are long lived (~154 years) and grow large (~310 pounds).  They are considered "State Endangered" so possession of lake sturgeon is illegal and anglers must release them to the water, unharmed, as soon as possible.

Many lake sturgeon have been stocked into the French Broad, Holston, and Tennessee Rivers downstream of Douglas and Cherokee Reservoirs since 2000. These fish can travel long distances and could be anywhere within the Tennessee River watershed including, but not limited to Tellico, Ft. Loudoun, Watts Bar, and Melton Hill Reservoirs. 3,500 were stocked into the upper Clinch River in 1992 and may have found their way into Norris Reservoir. Additional stockings have occured in Cheatham, Cordell Hull, and Old Hickory Reservoirs.

Please report the approximate length and location of any catch of lake sturgeon to TWRA's Jason Henegar in Nashville (615-781-6575). The TWRA provides a certificate to those anglers who report the catch and release of this species.


Lake sturgeon stocking restoration video

Lake Sturgeon stocking summary

Lake Sturgeon

A young lake sturgeon released in June of 2006


Lake Sturgeon Sign

Sign to be posted on river banks and access areas


Lake Sturgeon Marks