Sturgeon Festival

Sturgeon Festival

Sturgeon Festival is a family-friendly event, sponsored by Friends of the St. Clair River, 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 supports the largest remaining population of threatened lake sturgeon. Over 10,000 lake sturgeon call underneath the Blue Water Bridges home which makes it possible to see these majestic fish at the Sturgeon Festival.

picLake sturgeon populations have declined since the early 1900’s, 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 is not only important for our health but it means increased recreation and tourism for the Blue Water Area.


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. Meet our mascot, Seymour Sturgeon, who will be cheering you on! We are proud to be the Blue Water Area's first green race --- leave your footsteps, but not a carbon footprint! Our water station uses biodegradable cups, and race packets are delivered in reusable cloth bags. All 5K participants receive a t-shirt and matching bag. All 1K participants receive a medal, with an option to purchase a t-shirt for additional money. Awards are presented to the top three males and females in all age groups in the 5K. Stick around after the race for the award ceremony and to visit the live sturgeon touch tank. Funds are available for students through the Starting Line Youth Running Fund. Race proceeds benefit Friends of the St. Clair River, Sturgeon For Tomorrow, and Starting Line Youth Running Fund.

This race is in memory of our special sturgeon friend from St. Clair, Jerry Vranish.

8:15 AM - 1K Fun Run Start
8:30 AM - 5K Race Start
9:30 AM - Award Presentation

Click here for Race Registration - Online race registration closes June 1st. Registrations will be taken on-site the day of the race. Race packet pick up is Friday, June 1 from 4-7 PM at the Vantage Points Maritime Center and Saturday, June 2 from 7-8 AM at the start line tent. The race takes place rain or shine!

 pdf Click here for the Course Map


Sturgeon Cruise

Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise
10:00 a.m. • 11:30 a.m. • 1:00 p.m.
Tickets are available now at

Get a glimpse of these enormous fish on the Blue Water Area’s exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise! Courtesy of Gregory A.D. scuba divers, Sturgeon Cruise guests will watch live video of lake sturgeon swimming in the St. Clair River on big screen televisions on deck. Enjoy the St. Clair River and the beautiful expanse of Lake Huron on this 1 hour cruise narrated by sturgeon 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.

The sturgeon cruise takes place rain or shine. In the event of severe weather, the cruise may be delayed up to 30 minutes, but not longer than 60 minutes. If the boat captain deems the weather too severe to delay or to leave the dock, the boat will remain moored and the 1-hour sturgeon presentation will take place dockside on the boat. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.


Sturgeon Brew Fundraiser
Join us Thursday, May 31 from 5-8 pm at War Water Brewery for a festive fundraiser party to kick off the Blue Water Sturgeon Festival! Support us with a $20 donation at the door to receive your exclusive festival pint glass, 2 beer tickets or 1 wine ticket, and a door prize ticket. Sip on the tasty Resurgin’ Sturgeon Rye, view live sturgeon in fish tanks, meet Lake Sturgeon biologists and researchers, and take home some Sturgeon Festival prizes! Hope to see you there! Thanks for your support!

Sturgeon Touch Tank
It’s a live sturgeon encounter! Meet the fisheries biologists and sturgeon experts from the MI DNR and US Fish and Wildlife Service that are conducting ongoing sturgeon assessments in the Blue Water Area. The touch tank exhibit is a timed entry system.

Sturgeon Stories
Drop in for a 20-min presentation inside the Maritime Center classroom. Workshops are general seating and open to all ages.

Art Contest
Vote for your favorite 5th grader’s sturgeon poster using your pocket change! The top three winners are announced at the close of the festival.

Chalk the Walk Sturgeon Mural
Join artist Lou Rodriquez to create a stunning sturgeon masterpiece in chalk! Lou is the artist who designed and built our beloved Stella Claire, the giant sturgeon sculpture on Blue Water River Walk. Help Lou bring the art to life by dropping in anytime to watch him or add your own touch to help complete the work.

Walpole Island Drum Ceremony
10am & 2:30pm - Join Fenton White Eye from Canada’s Walpole Island as he shares through a traditional drum ceremony the importance sturgeon had in food and survival for the Native American culture.

Sturgeon Cake
Thousands of lake sturgeon gather under the Blue Water Bridges to spawn every year at this time. A week after spawning the eggs hatch, which means every sturgeon in the Blue Water Area was born at the same time! Sturgeon live to be 100 years old, so we need 100 candles to celebrate!

Great Lakes exhibits with hands-on kids activities

Sturgeon Swag Sale and Seymour Sturgeon Selfies

Adopt A Sturgeon
Coming soon! Your Lake sturgeon adoption kit will includes a 10” soft plush sturgeon, formal adoption certificate with naming opportunity, species spotlight card full of data about your sturgeon, and connection to additional data as it becomes available.

School Sturgeon Cruise
Local 5th graders are invited to participate in our Sturgeon Story Contest which could win the class a free Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise. During the educational 1-hour cruise students learn about lake sturgeon habitat, 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. For complete details, email School Sturgeon Cruise Coordinator.

Sturgeon Cruise

pdf Official Flyer
pdf Program Guide (coming soon)
pdf Logo Coloring Sheet
pdf Mosaic Coloring Sheet
pdf Lake Sturgeon Quiz

In The News
Sturgeon in Detroit: Ancient fish weighing up to 200 pounds lurk in river
Searching for young lake sturgeon near Detroit-area spawning reefs
An annual Sturgeon Festival in Michigan celebrates the fish’s resurgence while teaching people about the importance of clean water

Great Lakes Fishery Commission Sturgeon News
Diver Great Lakes Lake 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
pdf Return of the Gentle Giants
pdf Top 10 Lake Sturgeon Clips

Fact Sheets
pdf Great Lakes Heroes - Super Sturgeon
pdf 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


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.

pdf Take the Lake Sturgeon Quiz!

More Facts









Underwater 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 recently completed local habitat restoration projects in the St. Clair River.


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