Sturgeon Spearing Season Begins On Lake Winnebago Saturday

DNR Reports That Species Population Is Highest It's Been In Years

RoyalBroil (CC-BY-SA)

Sturgeon spearing begins Saturday on the Lake Winnebago system.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist Ryan Koenigs said the harvest cap for adult female sturgeon is up 6 percent based on population estimates.

“Overall, I think these are really the good ol’ days when it comes to the sturgeon populations and fisheries,” said Koenigs. “We’ve got more fish than we’ve had in 20 to 30 years. But really, we’ve also got a higher abundance of very large trophy-size fish than we likely have ever had since the settlers came to this area, if not ever period.”

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Koenigs said the increase in sturgeon size and abundance are due to greater protection of the sturgeon during spawning through the Sturgeon Guard program. He also credits past and current limits on harvesting and greater numbers of gizzard shad for the sturgeon to eat.

The spearing season will last until March 1, or until harvest caps are reached for female or male sturgeon. The DNR is urging spearers to register their fish as soon as possible, as the department says it’s easier to collect data on the dead sturgeon before the cold temperatures freeze the fish.