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Sturgeon Fest is this Saturday!

September 26, 2019  |  Topics: Events

By Ed Makowski

For nature lovers, Saturday September 28 marks the end of the summer festival season in Milwaukee. Sturgeon Fest takes place inside Lakeshore State Park in downtown Milwaukee. Each year, Riveredge Nature Center and the Wisconsin DNR collaborate to raise 1,000 Lake Sturgeon that are released as part of a 25-year project to return a breeding population of this species native to the Great Lakes. 

Raised on Milwaukee River water at Riveredge Nature Center in Saukville, these fish are beginning to return back home to the Milwaukee River, and should begin spawning in the next few years. 

Originally, the festival took place at the Grafton Dam, but a few years ago with a drought and concern that fish wouldn’t be able to make it out to Lake Michigan, a Hail Mary choice was made to release fish in Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Riveredge, organizations that collaborate to nurture the fish until they can be released, realized that Lakeshore State Park afforded the opportunity for more people to attend and participate. Since then, fish have been released just behind Summerfest, and right next to Discovery World, in the lagoon connected to Lake Michigan.

At Sturgeon Fest, the public is invited to help Return the Sturgeon to Lake Michigan by hand-releasing fish for a donation to the program of $10 per fish. Sturgeon Fest is a fantastic, family friendly event with games, a rock climbing wall, nature learning stations, lagoon kayaking, crafts, arts, and food trucks. 

Complete details and the ability to pre-register to release a fish can be found at

Sturgeon release. Photo by Eddee Daniel

To read a review of last year’s Sturgeon Fest by A Wealth of Nature Project Director Eddee Daniel and see more of his images, click here.

Ed Makowski is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Riveredge Nature Center.

Photographs courtesy Riveredge Nature Center, except as noted.

Riveredge Nature Center is a partner organization to A Wealth of Nature.