Skip to content

Water Clarity for the 2015 Sturgeon Spearing Season

February 10, 2015

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Water clarity update from Ryan Koenigs (Senior Fisheries Biologist) on February 10, 2015:

Our DNR crew had been out checking water clarity a couple of weeks ago (January 27) and at that time water clarity was very good.  Due to ice conditions at that time, the crew checked clarity at numerous spots along the East and North shore of Lake Winnebago.  Here are the water clarity readings from then:

2 Miles off Pipe = 16’ of clarity in 16’ of water

2 miles off Quinney = 16’ of clarity in 18.5’ of water
1 Mile off Stockbridge = 17.5’ of clarity in 19’ of water
1 mile off Payne’s Point = 14’ of clarity in 14’ of water

Since then I have heard numerous reports of dirtier water on the South end and dirtying conditions across all of Lake Winnebago.  So we went out today and much more thoroughly checked water clarity.  The results are shown below (and attached), but the clarity seems to be extremely variable throughout the entire lake. In general, it appears that the East shore (average clarity of 16.25’) and North shore (average clarity of 16.2’) has for the most part clear water.  The water clarity on the West and South shores is much more variable, but overall dirtier water clarity conditions.  Average clarity off Merritt Street was 7.4’ while the South end sites was slightly better at 9.3’ of average clarity.  Interestingly, these clarity values don’t differ much from the limited sample from 2 weeks ago, but again that date did not include any readings from the West or South shores.  Although the water is dirtier South, there were still areas where we could easily see bottom in up to 13’ of water.  So it may be just doing a good deal of scouting to find the clearer water before cutting in on Thursday or Friday.  Good luck to all the spearers out there and I hope you have a safe and enjoyable 2015 sturgeon spearing season!

Water Clarity Water Depth Area
Merrit 1 Mile South Road 6.5 13 West
Merritt 2 Mile South Road 5.5 15 West
Merritt 2 Mile East Tree line 10 18 West
Merritt 1 Mile East Tree line 7.5 17 West
Wendt’s 1 Mile East Road 8.5 8.5 South
Wendt’s 1.5 Mile East Road 13 13 South
Wendt’s 1 Mile North Rd 5 10 South
Wendt’s 2 Mile North Rd 10 10 South
Fond du Lac 1 Mile 5.5 9 South
Fond du Lac 2 Miles 11.5 12 South
Fond du Lac 1 Mile 5 10 South
Fisherman’s Road 1 Mile 12 12 South
Fisherman’s Road 2 Mile 13 16 South
Pipe 1 Mile 13 16 East
Pipe 2 Miles 16 17 East
Pipe 3 Miles 17 17 East
Quinney 3 Miles 13.5 19.5 East
Quinney 2 Miles 18 20 East
Stockbridge 3 Miles 16.5 20 East
Stockbridge 2 Miles 19 20 East
Stockbridge 1 Mile 17 19 East
Fire Lane 8 – 1 Mile 16 16 North
Payne’s Point – 2 Mile 16.5 18 North
Payne’s Point – 1 Mile 16 16 North

2015 Sturgeon Spearing Regulations

January 20, 2015

January is flying by and the 2015 sturgeon spearing season is just 25 days away!

Take a look at the Sturgeon Spearing tab above for updated info on the 2015 season and make sure you browse through the 2015 Sturgeon Spearing Regulations before you head out this season.

2015 Sturgeon Spearing Season:

Saturday, February 14 – Sunday, March 1* from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. daily
*or until any of the pre-set harvest caps for Lake Winnebago are reached OR any of the pre-set Winnebago System-wide harvest caps are reached, whichever comes first.

Check back for more info as the season gets closer!

Sturgeon Spawning Update for May 5-6, 2014

May 6, 2014

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spawning update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on May 6, 2014:

Well things got off to a slow start today, but the fish are still making their way in at the Shawano Dam. The fish are starting to show signs that they are very close to spawning there and my crew did tag 25 fish there at the end of the day today. The real story of today though was the widespread distribution of sturgeon spawning on the Wolf and Embarrass Rivers. There were fish spawning at Bamboo Bend (Shiocton), another private site in Shiocton, two sites on private property in Leeman, and Hwy 156 on the Wolf River and at Behnke’s bridge and a couple of sites on private property on the Embarrass River. With Shawano holding off today, we actually split up into three tagging crews and were nomads covering many of these sites. We tagged 19 fish at Bamboo Bend, 17 fish at a site on private property in Shiocton, 124 fish at a site on private property in Leeman, 63 fish at another site on private property in Leeman, 31 fish at Hwy 156, 25 fish at the Shawano Dam, and another 28 fish at a site on private property in the Shawano area of the Embarrass River.

For tomorrow, I am anticipating that we will have heavy spawning activity at the Shawano Dam. Hopefully the weather will be amenable to our crew tagging large numbers of fish tomorrow.

Sturgeon spawning update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on May 5, 2014:

Today sturgeon were spawning on the Wolf River at sites in Leeman, and our DNR Crew tagged 209 fish in that area between two sites on private property. Sturgeon are starting to show signs that they will begin spawning in the next day at the Shawano Dam. If you want to see fish you should not wait for the weekend, instead plan on going to the Shawano dam tomorrow or Wednesday. They should be at peak spawning at that site sometime in the next couple of days.

Sturgeon Spawning Update for April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spawning update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on April 29, 2014:

The sturgeon continue to spawn even with the cold water temperatures. Multiple pods of fish were actively spawning at Bamboo Bend in Shiocton today as well as at a site downstream on private property where our crew handled 113 fish today. I also heard reports that more fish came in to spawn at the Sturgeon Trail on County X in New London and also at Memorial Park in New London. It seems that the cold water temperatures are prolonging the spawning at these sites longer than normal, meaning there may continue to be fish spawning at Bamboo Bend and sites in the Shiocton area. Hopefully we will get some warmer, dryer weather coming in soon that will start to warm the water and really ramp up spawning activity, particularly below the Shawano Dam. As of now, we are not observing any fish at Shawano that are even showing pre-spawn behavior, meaning that it could be quite some time before we see fish spawning there.

Sturgeon Spawning Update for April 27-28, 2014

April 28, 2014

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spawning update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on April 28, 2014:

Water temperatures continued to crash today (down to 42 degrees in Shawano and 44.5 degrees at Bamboo Bend in Shiocton), but fish continued to spawn on the Wolf River. Our crew started the day at Bamboo Bend this morning and then returned in the afternoon to finish up our tagging day. In total, we handled 75 fish at this site with the largest being a 68.4” ripe female. In between work at Bamboo Bend we also tagged 8 fish at Memorial Park in New London and 10 fish behind the bait shop on County X in New London. Both of these sites contained limited spawning activity, but fish none the less. Besides these locations, fish were reported as spawning at the Sturgeon Trail on County X in New London, the Manawa Dam, and a site on private property in Shiocton.

The weather has really forced the water temperatures to drop and it is becoming even more difficult to predict what sturgeon are going to do. With that said, I think that there will still be more spawning activity at Bamboo Bend tomorrow.

Sturgeon spawning update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on April 27, 2014:

Well the sturgeon run continues to linger on, but spawning activity was observed at additional sites today, Sunday April 27. Numerous active spawning pods were once again present at the Sturgeon Trail in New London, where our crew tagged 91 fish today. The largest fish handled there today was a 68.5” ripe female, but we also captured numerous large males that were in excess of 65”.

In addition to fish spawning fish at the Sturgeon Trail on County X, spawning was also observed at a few other locations in New London including Memorial Park, Pfeifer Park and behind the town garage. Spawning at all of these sites was limited to small numbers of fish and likely only 1-3 females that were beginning to ovulate. We did tag 10 fish at Memorial Park today and this was a noteworthy occurrence because the DNR and Sturgeon for Tomorrow completed a joint project this fall to re-rock the shoreline. This had been a site where sturgeon had spawned in the past, but the existing rock was smaller than desired and the shoreline was starting to show signs of erosion. So Sturgeon for Tomorrow paid for the rock for the project and the DNR habitat crew from Wild Rose placed the rock. Within just one year the sturgeon honed in on this new rock and we are optimistic that more fish will spawn at this site during this year’s run and for years to come. In addition to spawning fish at these sites in New London, there also was the first glimmer of spawning activity at Bamboo Bend today. I was there at around 9:45 AM and observed at least two pods of actively spawning fish. Our crew did not tag any fish there today, but we likely will be actively monitoring this site in the upcoming days.

Hopefully you were able to get out and observe sturgeon over the last couple of days and enjoy the resource. Both Bamboo Bend and the Sturgeon Trail received a great deal of visitors and hopefully the fish will continue to show up at these sites allowing more people to witness sturgeon spawning.

Sturgeon Spawning Update for April 26, 2014

April 26, 2014

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spawning update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on April 26, 2014:

Sturgeon spawning seems to be slowing down on the Winnebago System. Fish spawned pretty hard at the Sturgeon Trail last night and into this morning, but by early morning they had backed off substantially. Our crew was able to handle 53 fish at this site today before things fizzled, including a 73.8” ripe female! The only other locations where spawning was observed was in Princeton on the upper Fox River and at the Manawa Dam on the Little Wolf River. Our crews did attempt to tag fish at both of these locations, but numbers were very small (10 at Princeton and 2 at Manawa).

Looking forward to tomorrow, Sunday, the big question remains on when will the fish come in to spawn at more sites in New London (Memorial Park, Pfeifer Park, etc.) and in spawning sites in the Shiocton area. Some fish were observed at all of these sites today, but none of these sites contained actively spawning fish. Rather they are just exhibiting pre-sign behaviors and we will wait until they are “ready to go”. So for people interested in seeing sturgeon spawning tomorrow, I first recommend calling the Sturgeon Hotline (920)303-5444 to see if and where fish may be spawning. This may save a trip to the Wolf River that ends with little spawning activity observed.

If I hear anything in the meantime, I will try to send out an email before our crew leaves the office to tag fish.

DNR Photo

DNR Photo

Sturgeon Spawning Update from April 23-24, 2014

April 25, 2014

With the weather warming up it’s just about time to visit the rivers for sturgeon spawning! Read the DNR’s report below and if you can’t make it to the river yourself, you should be able to see a few sturgeon via the Wolf River Cam. Sounds like the Shawano cam should be up and running soon. Check it out here: http://www.wolfrivercam.com/index.html

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spawning update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on April 23-24, 2014:

Thursday, April 24:

As I stated in my email last night, we weren’t sure what impact Thursday’s cooler temperatures would have on sturgeon spawning activity. Well after observing fish behavior today, we know that the cooler temperatures made the fish back off a bit. There was some spawning activity observed at the Sturgeon Trail on the Wolf River in New London and at Riverside Park on the Fox River in Berlin today, but spawning at both sites was limited to a very minimal numbers of females. Despite the rain, our DNR fish crew collected and tagged fish at both sites. We were only able to capture 10 fish at the Sturgeon Trail with a single fish being a ripe female that was drawing other fish in. We also captured 9 fish in Berlin, 2 of which were ripe females.

I’m still not 100% sure when peak spawning activity will take place at various locations throughout the system, but I assure you that DNR fisheries and law enforcement staff will be heavily monitoring spawning activity and doing our best to keep people updated. I’m optimistic that the nicer weather and sunshine forecasted for Friday will get fish back into the spawning rhythm at some of the spawning sites lower down on the Wolf River (Sturgeon Trail in particular). However, we will just have to wait and see, because the fish currently hold all of the cards and will spawn when they feel good and ready. For the last 7+ years I have watched these fish make biologists (including myself) look foolish when predicting when and where they will spawn, and I’m afraid this year might hold an all too similar fate. As I stated though, I will make sure to send out as frequent of updates as I can and we will also work to keep the Sturgeon Hotline (920)303-5444 rolling with up to date spawning information.

Wednesday, April 23:

There has been quite a bit of interest in when the sturgeon will start spawning on the Wolf and upper Fox Rivers and I am glad to finally report that we are starting to see sturgeon spawning activity. I actually just got home from working a few fish at two spawning sites in the Berlin area on the upper Fox River. Water temperatures in this area reached 54 degrees on Tuesday and the temperatures have remained just warm enough to push the fish over the edge and commence spawning activity. Although, we did not tag many fish on the upper Fox tonight, there were multiple spawning pods at multiple sites within Berlin City limits, particularly Riverside Park. There did not appear to be a large number of females actively spawning at any of these sites, so I’m not sure if fish will still be spawning here in the morning or not.

As for the Wolf River, we saw some of the first glimmer of pre-spawn activities this afternoon at numerous sites. Typically sturgeon will begin porpoising (jumping out of the water) a few days to a week in advance of spawning activity at a site. As spawning actively gets closer, male sturgeon will actively “cruise” near the rocked shorelines of sturgeon spawning sites. This “cruising” activity was observed this afternoon at numerous known spawning sites on the Wolf River including the Sturgeon Trail on County X in New London, Pfeifer Park on the Embarrass River in New London, Bamboo Bend in Shiocton, and a few other sites on private property. Typically sturgeon spawning will take place within 24-48 hours of observed cruising activity, meaning that we are very close to sturgeon spawning starting on the Wolf River. We are not 100% sure what the cooler weather and rain tomorrow will do to spawning activity, but it would not surprise me if we have heavy spawning activity starting tomorrow and carrying into the next few days. As many of you may know, or have heard me say in the past, predicting exactly when these fish will spawn and where is very difficult. So don’t miss the chance to come out and potentially see this fish spawn. Our law enforcement staff have been updating the sturgeon hotline (920)303-5444, so feel free to call the hotline for more current information about where sturgeon activity may be taking place.

I will try to send out another update tomorrow evening notifying people of spawning activity, but I wouldn’t suggest waiting too long before making plans to come see these fish spawn, particularly at spawning sites lower down on the Wolf River in New London and Shiocton.