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Why spear sturgeon?

January 15, 2010

I received an email from someone who is wondering why people spear sturgeon and is curious to know more about the sport.  If you aren’t familiar with sturgeon spearing, here is some more information.

Sturgeon spearing has existed since the day humans discovered how tasty sturgeon can be and has now become an annual tradition on Lake Winnebago.  Sturgeon meat and eggs (caviar) can be eaten, but cannot legally be sold in the state of Wisconsin to eliminate problems with poaching and over-harvesting.  There are many ways to prepare and cook sturgeon and according to the WDNR site, “it’s delicious baked, smoked, boiled, dried, fried, pickled, or barbecued”.

It may seem like a funny relationship–many people in Wisconsin dedicate their lives to sturgeon research and re-populating the lakes, yet the sport of sturgeon spearing exists.  It’s a balance that Wisconsin and specifically the Lake Winnebago area has found over many years of hard work.  The number of sturgeon that can be taken from the lake varies each year based on the population of sturgeon so that they are never over-harvested and can continue to thrive.  The drive to spear sturgeon is the same as for other hunting or fishing sports.  Since sturgeon can be eaten, people spear for the meat and the possibility of catching a female carrying eggs.  Sturgeon spearing is a technique that spearers learn to master and like any other sport, is about the competition.  Sturgeon spearing is usually a family tradition as wisdom and spears are passed from generation to generation.  The DNR respects the tradition and is making it successfully coincide with sturgeon re-population.  I greatly respect the care that the DNR has for the sturgeon and the respect that spearers and Wisconsin also demonstrate.

See “My Take on Sturgeon Spearing” for more info.

Thanks for the question!

Feel free to respond by posting a comment or dropping me an email!  Also send any questions, comments, stories, photos, etc. to wisconsinsturgeon@gmail.com.

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