JEFFERSON CITY — State conservation officials have released thousands of hatchery-raised lake sturgeon into three central Missouri rivers.
All of the more than 12,600 fish were marked and chipped before biologists released them into the Grand, Osage and Gasconade rivers on Sept. 27.
They're just a few inches long now, but adult lake sturgeon can grow to several feet long and weigh a few hundred pounds.
Lake sturgeon were once common in Missouri, but their numbers fell because of overfishing. They're now protected under state law, and conservation officials have been releasing them into the state's waters since 1984.
The fish can take 25 to 30 years to reach reproductive size and age.