Oneida Lake, NY (WIBX) - After nearly twenty years, lake sturgeon are beginning to repopulate Oneida Lake on their own.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, a researcher discovered two female lake sturgeon carrying eggs downstream of Oneida Lake.

The DEC says female sturgeon take between 16 and 25 years to mature, and may only breed once every four years. Male sturgeon mature quicker, but the process still takes at least eight years.

In 1995, the DEC stocked more than 18,000 sturgeon into several lakes, including Oneida and Cayuga.

Lake sturgeon were nearly fished to extinction in new York during the 1800's, mainly for caviar. The group says their population in the Great Lakes is roughly one percent of what they were prior to 1850.