Carrick Palmer a recent SUNY ESF graduate trying to hold onto a 5-foot 2-inch lake sturgeon recently netted for a research project. Manning the boat is Greg Kronish, a master's degree candidate in the schools Department of Environmental and Forest Biology Department.

"As part of a  long-running research project, the SUNY ESF research team began setting gill nets a couple of weeks ago to capture, measure, and tag the prehistoric-looking fish. The team was shocked to find six sturgeon at once in one of their nets and the largest is a jaw-dropping  5 feet 2 inches and weighing 65 pounds."It's pretty unusual to net six at once" said Neil Ringer, interim chairman of the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at SUNY ESF.

Ringer said one of the fish his assistants tagged in 2012 was recently found on the lower Niagara River, just below the falls. Sturgeon are bottom feeders, dining on clams, zebra mussels and various vertebrates, such as crayfish and also round gobies. They have been known to get up to more than 7 feet long and weighing in at 300 pounds. He said they caught an even bigger one last year but the two students were outmatched and couldn't get it into the boat, Ringer said.

These fish are protected and if you catch one accidentally the DEC asks that they be released immediately.

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