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Opening day 2010

February 13, 2010

Finally opening day has arrived and it sounds like it was an extremely successful day, although the numbers aren’t in yet.  I got a chance to see the record breaking 212 pound, 7 ft. sturgeon speared by Ron Grishaber registered at the Harrison Town Hall (above, photo by Corey Gaffer), but heard talk about larger sturgeon from other areas of the lake–we’ll have to wait and see. According to the DNR, the largest sturgeon speared prior to today was 188 pounds and 79.5″ speared in 2004.

I had fun traveling along the west shore starting from Firelane 8 at 6:30am to watch the traffic head out onto the ice.  Then it was off to the boat landings and registration stations.  There wasn’t too much action early in the morning, but I was lucky enough to see a speared sturgeon still in the hole near Jerry’s Bar mid-morning.  Spearer Doug Warner of Oshkosh invited me in his shack to take a photo of his 53″ sturgeon (below).  Congrats Doug!

I talked with a few people here and there along the west shore and found that the water clarity was great for everyone, although not too many people were seeing sturgeon yet.  There seemed to be less shacks on the west than on the east shore, but plenty of people out on the lake.  I stopped at Wendt’s on the Lake and saw a few sturgeon go through the registration station as well as checked out the People of the Sturgeon book signing inside.  Talk traveled fast around the lake and people started talking about the record breaking sturgeon at the other stations, so I sent Corey and Lauren out to chase down the big ones on the north end.  They had a great time along the east shore (this was their first sturgeon spearing experience) and hit up the registration stations and shacks throughout the day.

As the day got later, the spearers lined up with sturgeon at the registration stations and spectators came to see as the fish were weighed, measured, and so on.  The local bars and stations were packed with people and stories from the lake.  All in all I’d say it was a pretty exciting opening day.  With the clear water and sunny skies the day could not have been better.  The count should be up any minute now–I’m anxious to see where it’s at because many people are saying it will be a short season.  Photos and the final count yet to come!  Good luck tomorrow!

Take a look at the Post Crescent’s opening day article:  “Annual sturgeon spearing begins today on Winnebago stystem

Also watch Fox 11’s broadcast from earlier today.

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