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Update from Ron Bruch on February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

Here is the email update on water clarity and more that Ron Bruch sent out this morning:

“Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearers,

We’re getting right down to the wire now, and I thought you might be interested in some new Lake Winnebago Water Clarity Reports our crew collected over the weekend. As of Saturday February 5, the water clarity has generally improved somewhat across the lake since my last water clarity report two weeks ago, from 12 to nearly 13 feet on average (details are listed in attachment). The best water appears to be in the south and along the east shore, although I have heard that there may be some other local areas of exceptionally clear water, and some areas where the water is somewhat turbid. The biggest change in the last couple of weeks is the increase in snow on the ice. Clubs have been busy trying to keep their lake roads clear for spearers to have access to their spearing areas and shacks. If you are not a member of one of these clubs, and use these roads, please consider joining a club or making a donation to their cause. Club members put a lot of time, effort, and expense into keeping these roads open for safe travel on the ice including plowing, maintaining ice bridges, and operating their club vehicles, plows and facilities. These are dedicated people that deserve a hearty word of thanks and strong support from anyone who goes out on the ice for sturgeon spearing or ice fishing.

One of the most common questions people have been asking me this year (other than “I forgot to buy my license – can I still get one?” – the answer to this question is no):

“Given the increase in license sales, will we need to go to a lottery on Lake Winnebago someday?” I don’t see a lottery any time soon in the future for our spear fishery on Lake Winnebago. The harvest cap system with unlimited license sales that we currently have in place for Lake Winnebago works quite well, and has more than accomplished our first goal of protecting the sturgeon stock from over-harvest. We can not accomplish our second goal of maintaining a viable sturgeon spear fishery with maximum opportunities for spearers without accomplishing the first goal. So – so far, so good. We have a great system in place for managing the harvest, and a great process in place with our Citizens Sturgeon Advisory Committee and other public meetings for sorting out if we ever need to do something different to address issues that may come up in the future. The lottery on the Upriver Lakes has worked quite well, but given the 66% success rate on those lakes, we could not run a fishery up there without having a potential problem given the popularity of that fishery. The success rate on Lake Winnebago is 13%, but even with this low per person success rate, most Lake Winnebago spearers feel they are successful if some from their spearing group are able to harvest a fish.

All of our sturgeon registrations stations are in place and we are putting the finishing touches on our schedule. Cutting in starts this Thursday. We are looking forward to seeing you hopefully with a fish at one of our stations this coming weekend or next week.

Be safe on the ice.”

Ronald M. Bruch, PhD
Upper Fox-Wolf Fisheries Work Unit Supervisor

(This update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR and Ron Bruch.)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. gerald sloma permalink
    February 7, 2011 8:03 pm

    thaks ron for e mail on your up date eyes a watching for volunteer spring sturgeon guard duty when coming up hit guard duty 3 years in a row and i just got to have more in a row thanks again for a good job on your part and your associates

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