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Sturgeon Spawning as of April 17, 2010

April 18, 2010

I was lucky enough to make it home Saturday to catch the sturgeon spawning on the Wolf River and ended up with about 700 photos (don’t ask me how!).  I made my first stop near Shiocton at Bamboo Bend where there were still a few sturgeon spawning and a large crowd watching.  I spent some time there, got soaked taking photos by all the splashing sturgeon, and then made my way into New London where there were more sturgeon than I could even estimate.  A large crowd gathered along the edge of the river and it was easier to see the sturgeon because there were so many and they ran along the entire river bank.  It was easy to pick out the females–much larger than the males and less active.  Many of the females just laid resting in the water with their heads resting on the rocks on shore while the males swarmed around them.

I did see a few interesting things.  There were many tagged sturgeon and a large variety of sizes from young to old.  One sturgeon had a hunched back or bulging back, but seemed to be doing just fine.  And to prove just how tough sturgeon are, one made it all the way up the river to spawn with no tail–it was literally gone right after it’s last back fin.  I swear these fish can live through anything.  I’ll post a few photos here, but be sure to click on the link to the right to see more photos as I add them this weekend. Sturgeon spawning is a great sight to see and a reminder of the large, healthy population of lake sturgeon in the Winnebago Lake system thanks to all those who have put so much time, research, and care into bringing them back over the years, including the Wisconsin DNR.

I haven’t received the official word, but I am guessing the sturgeon will still be spawning in the river Sunday, April 18.  I would recommend stopping in New London right off of County Rd X. You’ll see a sign for the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail at Big Eddy’s Rd. and will find parking there or along the road. Call the Sturgeon Hotline at 920.303.5444 for updates on spawning and current viewing locations. Brendon Stefancic took the following video at this spot on Saturday (April 17). I was trying to get some close-up shots of the sturgeon, so I apologize for being in the video! But it does give you a good size comparison and I also point out the female sturgeon in the group.

Above, the female sturgeon is the larger, older fish surrounded by males.

Above, a lake sturgeon that appears to have a ‘hunchback’ or growth.

Above, a lake sturgeon missing it’s tail yet healthy enough to make it up the river to spawn!

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