Sturgeon Festival

New for 2015! Run With the Sturgeon is a 5k race and 1k fun run along the beautiful Blue Water River Walk on the shores of the St. Clair River in downtown Port Huron. Meet our mascot, Seymour Sturgeon, who will be cheering you on! Start and finish at the Sturgeon Festival with the sounds of a traditional Native American drum ceremony from Walpole Island. Stick around after the race for the award ceremony and to see and touch a threatened Lake Sturgeon from Lake Huron up close and personal. Proceeds benefit Friends of the St Clair River and Sturgeon For Tomorrow.

5k Race $20 (Increases to $25 after March 16), 1k Run $10
All participants receive a Sturgeon Festival t-shirt


This race is in memorial of a special sturgeon friend from St. Clair, Jerry Vranish, who was an avid fisherman but discovered his true passion when he caught his first sturgeon.  During sturgeon season he could be found out on the river at least two nights a week and during the off season he could be found researching and clipping articles on sturgeon. Jerry passed away suddenly December 2012 and his family wished to find a charitable way to honor him.  We could not think of a better way than to support the fish he respected which had provided him so much quality time with family and friends!

Sturgeon Cruise

The Sturgeon Festival is a one-day event centered on providing close encounters with the “Giants of the Great Lakes”. Browse a dozen indoor & outdoor displays with hands-on activities, drop-in a workshop or presentation, and view live sturgeon and other native fish. The festival also features three Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruises with a live video feed from a diver in the St. Clair River which allows guests a view of lake sturgeon swimming on the bottom of the river. Are you ready for your close encounter with this ancient freshwater fish?

picSturgeon are phenomenal to see up close because they reach enormous size - weighing up to 150lbs, growing over 7ft, and living over 100 years. Of the many historically known spawning sites, only two are known to be active, and both are in the St. Clair River. Over 10,000 lake sturgeon call underneath the Blue Water Bridges “home” which makes it possible to see these prehistoric majestic fish if given the right opportunity.

Since the 1900’s, lake sturgeon populations have declined, not just from historical over-fishing, but from habitat alteration, industrialization of the Great Lakes, and increasing pollution levels, and as a result were added to the Threatened Species list in Michigan. In recent years, the lake sturgeon has made something of a comeback. Collaborative efforts at righting environmental wrongs in the St. Clair River have improved habitat conditions. Sturgeon can be used as a spotlight species to gauge the health of the river, and with sturgeon numbers slowly on the rise we are assured that the health of the St. Clair River is also improving.

picSturgeon Cruise

Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise


Get a glimpse of these prehistoric fish on our exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise! During the Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruises, guests will be able to watch lake sturgeon swimming on the bottom of the St. Clair River via live video feed by Gregory A.D. Big screen televisions on deck, courtesy of Best Buy, will allow guests a personal view of the action from the bottom of the river. Enjoy the St. Clair River and the beautiful expanse of Lake Huron on this 2-hour cruise narrated by fisheries scientists and experts. Boarding for the sturgeon cruise begins promptly 20 minutes before departure.

Numerous events are offered throughout the day. Admission and activities are free, thanks to our generous sponsors.

• 9:30 a.m. Opening Ceremony:
Celebrate the spring arrival of spawning sturgeon in the St. Clair River with a traditional drum ceremony performed by Walpole Island First Nation leaders. This ceremony provides an opportunity to blend the long-standing history and culture of local Native American people and their relationship with sturgeon with the fisheries science of today.

• Workshops:
Join us for these 20-minute workshops inside the Maritime Center
10:30 a.m. & 1:00 p.m. – “Restoring the St. Clair River”, Patty Troy, Co-Chair, St. Clair River Area of Concern Bi-National Public Advisory Council
11:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m. – “Lake Sturgeon Restoration in the Great Lakes”, Dr. Bruce Manny, USGS Great Lakes Science Center

• View live lake sturgeon on shore with U.S. Fish and Wildlife
  Service and DNR scientists

• Learn about the Great Lakes at outdoor exhibits

• Native American food and crafts

• Special kids’ activities, student artwork showcase, sturgeon birthday cake, t-shirt sale,
  give-aways, and more!

• Friday, May 30: Up to six 5th grade classes could win a free Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise. Classes must participate in our Great Lakes Sturgeon poster contest to be eligible. Please email the School Sturgeon Cruise Coordinator for details.

Sturgeon Cruise

Official 2014 Event Flyer pdf

News Releases
May 12 - Giants of the Great Lakes pdf
March 28 - Ticket Sales pdf
March 21 - Poster Contest pdf  /  Poster Contest Rules pdf

DiverUS Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Sturgeon
Great Lakes Science Center Lake Sturgeon
St. Clair River Area of Concern
Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative
Great Lakes Restoration Work in Michigan

Video Clips
Return of the Gentle Giants pdf
Top 10 Lake Sturgeon Clips pdf

Fact Sheets
Helping the Ancient Sturgeon pdf
Restoring Fish Habitat in the St. Clair River pdf
Restoration of Lake Sturgeon in the Detroit River pdf
Dinosaur of the Great Lakes pdf
Michigan: Great Lakes Restoration at Work pdf
Marysville Living Shoreline Project pdf


Phone: (810) 987-5306
Facebook: Blue Water Sturgeon Festival


Fast Facts

Type: Fish
Diet: Omnivore
Life span: Male 55yrs / Female 115yrs
Size: 6.5 ft
Weight: Up to 200 lbs

Did you know? The lake sturgeon is often called a "living fossil”. It’s part of a family of fish that has existed unchanged for more than 135 million years.

Take the Lake Sturgeon Quiz!  pdf

More Facts




Sturgeon photos by Greg Lashbrook


The Sturgeon Festival, organized by Friends of the St. Clair River Watershed, is a partnership between natural resource agencies, government, industry, scientists, anglers, and recreationalists in order to highlight the ecosystem approach to managing fish and wildlife in the St. Clair River and to increase interest in restoring the lake sturgeon to higher levels of abundance. With everyone’s cooperation, this “Gentle Giant of the Great Lakes” will be saved from extinction for all to enjoy. Click on “More Facts” to read more about lake sturgeon and local restoration projects in the St. Clair River.


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