Contrary to conventional wisdom for shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), we document shortnose sturgeon use of habitats beyond large rivers. Telemetry data from 2008 to 2010 in the Gulf of Maine demonstrates that adult shortnose sturgeon (up to 70%) frequently move between Maine’s two largest rivers, the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers. Even more interesting, small rivers located between these watersheds were used by 52% of the coastal migrants. Small river use was not trivial, 80% of observed movements extended more than 10 km upstream. However, visits were short in duration. This pattern indicates one of several possibilities: directed use of resources, searching behaviors related to reproduction (i.e. straying) or undirected wandering. Data suggest a relationship between residence time in small rivers and distance to the lowermost barrier. Restoring connectivity to upstream habitats in these rivers could allow opportunities for metapopulation expansion. Regional management of shortnose sturgeon in the Gulf of Maine should incorporate a habitat framework that considers small coastal rivers.