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, 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, family-friendly 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, touch a live sturgeon and other native fish, or take a ride on our exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise.

Sturgeon are phenomenal to see up close because they reach enormous size - weighing up to 150 pounds, growing over 7 feet, and living over 100 years. The St. Clair River ecosystem supports the largest remaining population of free-ranging threatened lake sturgeon. Over 10,000 lake sturgeon call underneath the Blue Water Bridges home which makes it possible to see these majestic fish if given the opportunity. At the Sturgeon Festival, we are bringing this unique opportunity to thousands of families each year.

picLake sturgeon populations have declined since the early 1900’s, not just from historical over-fishing, but from habitat alteration 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 due to completion of numerous spawning reefs in the St. Clair River. 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. A sustainable fish population and healthy river system is not only important for our health but it means increased recreation opportunities and tourism for the Blue Water Area.

Sturgeon Fest is leveraging Port Huron’s unique natural resources to help shape and revitalize its physical, social, and economic character. We want the Sturgeon Festival to catch your attention to the qualities of our community’s natural resources because when you enjoy a place for its special attributes it instills a sense of pride. Are you ready for your close encounter with this prehistoric freshwater fish?

picSturgeon Cruise

Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise
10:30 a.m. • 1:00 p.m. • 3:30 p.m.
Ticket sales begin April 1
Purchase Tickets Here


Get a glimpse of these enormous prehistoric fish on the Blue Water’s exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise! During a Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise, 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 biologists and experts. There are only 100 seats available each cruise, so don’t delay, get your tickets today! Boarding for the sturgeon cruise begins promptly 20 minutes before departure. Due to the educational nature of this cruise, passengers are limited to ages 6 and over.

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.

Drop-in Meet the Scientist 20-minute workshops
Restoring the St. Clair River – Patty Troy
St. Clair River Area of Concern

Lake Sturgeon Tracking – David Bennion
USGS Great Lakes Science Center

Sturgeon Fishing – Jim Felganauer
St. Clair-Detroit River Sturgeon For Tomorrow

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

Learn about the Great Lakes at outdoor exhibits

Taste the limited special edition orange-spiced honey hefeweizen sturgeon beer brewed exclusively for Sturgeon Festival by ThumbCoast Brewing Company

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

School Sturgeon Cruise
Local 5th graders are invited to participate in our Sturgeon Poster Contest which could win the class a free Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise on Friday, May 29. During the educational 1-hour cruise students learn about lake sturgeon habitat, test water quality, and see live sturgeon tagging in Lake Huron from fisheries biologists. The contest is open to public, private or homeschooled 5th grade students from St. Clair County. Artwork can depict lake sturgeon biology, habitat, their role in the food web, their connection to Native Americans, or how to protect water quality. Posters must be 8.5” x 11” and completed individually. Entries are due April 30, 2015. For complete details, email School Sturgeon Cruise Coordinator.

Sturgeon Cruise

Run with the Sturgeon Sponsorship Package pdf

DiverUS Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Sturgeon
St. Clair River Area of Concern
The St. Clair - Detroit River System Initiative
The Great Lakes Commission
Fish Habitat Projects in the St. Clair River

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, 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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