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Winnebago Sturgeon Harvest Report for Saturday February 13

February 13, 2010

“A record smashing day on Lake Winnebago today for the start of the 2010 sturgeon spearing season.  We have been handling fish in our spring spawning surveys in excess of 200 pounds for several years now, and finally one of these large super-trophies has shown up in the spear harvest.  Ron Grishaber of Appleton registered a 212.2 pound, 84.2” sturgeon this morning at our Harrison Registration Station, west of the village of Sherwood.

Also a record number of fish greater than or equal to 100 pounds were registered today – 34 (31 on Lake Winnebago and 3 on the Upriver Lakes). Another record – the largest male sturgeon, 116.8 pounds, 71 inches, ever registered in the spear harvest was brought in to the Winneconne registration station at Critters.

The number of these very large fish in the population has been increasing over the last 15 years due to regulations developed by DNR fisheries staff and the Winnebago Citizens Sturgeon Advisory Committee, implemented in the 1990’s designed to decrease the annual exploitation of adult female sturgeon (which are the largest fish in the stock, but the most vulnerable to overharvest), and due to large hatches of sturgeon over a 20-30 year period in the early 1900s that are now entering the super-trophy size in their life.  Lake sturgeon, especially females, are believed to be able to live for 150 years or more.  The 212 lb record breaker harvest today has not been aged yet, but it likely in excess of 100 years old.

Total harvests for the day:

Lake Winnebago:  68 juvenile females; 256 adult females; 191 males; TOTAL of 515

Upriver Lakes:  28 juvenile females; 38 adult females; 75 males; TOTAL of 141

SYSTEM-WIDE:  96 juvenile females; 294 adult females; 266 males; TOTAL of 656

Lake Winnebago is at 38.4% of its adult female harvest cap (343 to go to hit 90% closure trigger; 410 to go to hit 100% closure trigger)

Upriver Lakes are at 51.4% of their adult female cap (29 to go to hit 90% closure trigger; 36 to go to hit 100% closure trigger) – so it is possible the Upriver lakes could hit either the 90% trigger by 12:30 PM tomorrow (Sunday) which would mean the season would close Monday at 12:30 PM; OR possibly hit the 100% trigger by close of fishing on Sunday which would close the season on the Upriver Lakes at 12:30 PM Sunday.”

Ronald M. Bruch, PhD
Upper Fox-Wolf Fisheries Work Unit Supervisor, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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