Shortnose Sturgeon

The Shortnose Sturgeon is generally olive-yellow to gray or bluish on the back, and milky-white to dark yellow on the belly.

Shortnose Sturgeon have four barbels, or "whiskers" underneath their snout that they use to detect bottom-dwelling food items.

They also have a tube-like mouth for sucking food off the bottom.

Shortnose Sturgeon Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season CLOSED - no harvest permitted
Size Limit CLOSED - no harvest permitted
Daily Limit / Person CLOSED - no harvest permitted
Delaware Range Delaware River
Abundance in Delaware Waters Rare - Protected
General Habitat and Food Preferences The Shortnose Sturgeon spends most of its life in fresh water. When in Delaware waters, it mostly lives at the bottom of freshwater rivers. Sturgeons are bottom feeders.

They feed on mussels, marine worms, and other organisms.
Did You Know? Shortnose Sturgeon are an endangered species.

Shortnose Sturgeon do not have true scales; instead they have five rows of boney plates known as scutes.

The Shortnose Sturgeon, a Delaware native, has been around since the time of dinosaurs.
Common Lures and Baits No fishing is allowed for Shortnose Sturgeon in Delaware waters. Like all prohibited species, if caught by accident, they must be immediately released to ensure the maximum probability of survival.

Please report dead Sturgeon to Delaware Fish and Wildlife by calling Ian Park at 735-8650.
Typical Sizes Caught The Shortnose Sturgeon adult is smaller than the Atlantic sturgeon adult, rarely exceeding 3.5 feet in length and 14 pounds in weight.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Shortnose Sturgeon are a protected species and are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award.
Delaware State Record Shortnose Sturgeon are a protected species and are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.