Sturgeon Festival



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! Stick around after the race for the award ceremony and to see a threatened Lake Sturgeon from Lake Huron up close and personal. Race proceeds benefit Friends of the St. Clair River Sturgeon For Tomorrow and Starting Line Youth Running Fund. We will race rain or shine!!!

Click here for Race Registration

All 5k participants receive a t-shirt.
All 1k participants receive a medal.

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 Festival

The 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 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.

Are you ready for your close encounter with this prehistoric freshwater fish?

Sturgeon Cruise

Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise
10:00 a.m. • 11:30 a.m. • 1:30 p.m.
Tickets go on sale April 15 -


Get a glimpse of these enormous prehistoric fish on the Blue Water's exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise! Aboard the Sturgeon Cruise guests will be able to watch video of lake sturgeon in the St. Clair River on big screen televisions on deck, allowing guests a view of the bottom of the river. 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. Due to the educational nature of this cruise, passengers are limited to ages 6 and over.

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.

Live Sturgeon Touch Tank on shore with scientists

Great Lakes exhibits

Kids’ activities, sturgeon birthday cake, t-shirt sale, give-aways, Seymor Sturgeon mascot, and more!

Sturgeon Fest Brew Release Party
On June 2nd from 4pm-close, ThumbCoast Brewing Company will release their exclusive Sturgeon Fest Brew to support Friends of the St. Clair River. This is an American Strong Ale aged with chambord, vanilla and coconut. Stop by ThumbCoast for your Sturgeon Festival pint glass and get $1 of your Sturgeon Fest Brew. Pint glasses will be for sale at ThumbCoast and Sturgeon Festival while supplies last, and they're not expected to last long so hurry in!

The Great Lake Sturgeon Book signing
The first book of its kind to explore this magnificent creature, this collected volume captures many aspects of the remarkable Great Lakes sturgeon, from the mythical to the critically real. Dr. Nancy Auer teaches in the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University and is a renowned expert and field researcher on lake sturgeon. Meet Nancy and purchase an autographed copy!

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, June 3, 2016. 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. Entries are due May 6, 2016. For complete details, email School Sturgeon Cruise Coordinator.

Sturgeon Cruise

Run with the Sturgeon Sponsorship Package pdf
2016 Official Sturgeon Festival Flyer pdf

Great Lakes Fishery Commission Sturgeon News
DiverGreat 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
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




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.


© 2013-2016 Friends of the St. Clair River Watershed. All rights reserved.
Powered by Eighth Day Media, LLC