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1 Day to Sturgeon Spearing 2011

February 11, 2011

Sturgeon spearing season 2011 begins in just a few hours, can you believe it?! Sorry for the late postings—by the time I get through my photos, etc. it ends up being later than I think! I’ll post a bunch of photos tomorrow from the last few days. Today was day 2 for me out on the lake and the morning began with hazy skies and negative temperatures. Today was a cold one—I’m not sure what the temperature was for the majority of the day, but I lost feeling in my feet and hands quite a few times. Traffic onto the lake began with the rising sun and was pretty steady all day. I started off of Firelane 8 and had a good time watching the different shanties drive by. The “ice road” off of Firelane 8 is pretty rough and narrow and mostly consists of paths people have plowed to their shanties. If you’re looking for a easier ride on the north end of the lake, catch the ice road at the boat landing in Sherwood (off State Park Rd.) or the road connecting Faro Springs (east) and Payne’s Point (west).

I went out with my dad’s group to set up the shanties and cut into the ice. For the most part, things went smoothly but a few of the shanties landed in some pretty deep snow that even a pickup truck and plow had a hard time with. The water clarity is fairly good in the north—we can see the cross bars on the bottom at 16 feet, but it is a little cloudy. We saw a few shad floating around and checked the bottom of the lake for red worms, but didn’t really find any. Ralph Nett shared a trick with me for finding red worms which I’ll post soon.

Driving across the lake I saw Bob Wright building his shanty on the ice and just had to stop. I didn’t bring a notepad with so hope I’m getting the details right, but Bob is from Wisconsin Rapids and this is his second year spearing. He cut the hole and pieced the shanty together on top of it from the bottom up. I know few people bring their shanties out in pieces, but hadn’t seen anyone actually putting one together, so I grabbed a few photos.  Good work Bob!

Bob Wright building his shanty on Lake Winnebago

Bob Wright building his shanty on Lake Winnebago

Bob Wright & his in-progress shanty

Bob Wright & his in-progress shanty

I drove across the lake from the Sherwood boat landing to Faro Springs Rd., then took the highway to the best place to be on the eve of sturgeon spearing—the Sturgeon Center of the World, of course—Stockbridge.  I stopped by Don Ecker’s house to get a closer look at the large, brightly colored sturgeon decoy in his front yard and he brought out another to show me. This decoy is pretty big, maybe around 2 feet long. It’s made of an 80-year-old piece of hand-carved butternut wood from Vermont. It’s a really beautiful decoy and unfortunately already sold. It is decoy number 4,999 and Don said he made a few more new decoys bringing his total up to 5,007! Stop by his house in Stockbridge right off of highway 55—you’ll see the decoys in the yard.

Decoy by Don Eckers

Decoy by Don Ecker

Tomorrow is the big day! I’ll be on the move at 5:30am to catch the action and will post tomorrow night. I’ll most likely stick to the north half of the lake again and will be at Waverly Beach around noon to see the sturgeon come in since that’s typically a popular spot. Good luck to everyone and be safe!

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