News Releases

July 21, 2011

Winooski Angler Charged with Taking Endangered Sturgeon

On July 2nd, Dhan Gurung, 27, of Winooski was arrested and charged with illegally taking and possessing an endangered lake sturgeon he caught while fishing on Otter Creek in Ferrrisburgh.

With the assistance of the Vergennes Police Department, Vermont State Game Wardens, acting on a tip, located Mr. Gurung with the fish inside his car. Mr. Gurung’s fishing rods and the endangered lake sturgeon were seized as evidence.

If convicted, Mr. Gurung faces a fine of up to $1,000 and additional restitution costs of up to $1,000 for the illegal possession of the lake sturgeon. He is scheduled for arraignment on August 22 at Addison District Court in Middlebury.

The lake sturgeon is a unique, ancient form of fish that still lives in Lake Champlain and is restricted by dams to spawning in the lower reaches of the Missisquoi, Lamoille and Winnooski Rivers as well as Otter Creek. Lake Champlain has the only lake sturgeon population in New England. Adults are typically three to five feet long and weigh up to 80 pounds. The largest on record in North America weighed over 300 pounds, and the oldest was 154 years old. They do not become sexually mature until 12 to 20 years old.

Lake sturgeon were historically more common in Lake Champlain, but declined rapidly in the 20th century due to over fishing and loss of spawning and nursery habitat caused by construction of dams. Vermont’s lake sturgeon were given complete protection by law in 1967.

If you catch a sturgeon, handle it carefully and turn it loose immediately where you caught it. State Fisheries Biologist Chet MacKenzie also would like to know the date, location and size of the fish. He can be reached in Rutland at 802-786-0040, and his E-mail is chet.mackenzie@state.vt.us.

Photographic Caption:

VT Fish & Wildlife photo

Vermont Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist Shawn Good holds a lake sturgeon captured and released during a recent monitoring study on the lower Winooski River. Limited numbers of lake sturgeon still spawn in the Missisquoi, Lamoille and Winooski Rivers, as well as Otter Creek.

Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife
Last Updated at: July 21, 2011 08:58:23