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Sturgeon Spawning 2011, Wisconsin

April 14, 2011

Sturgeon spawning is getting closer as the weather finally starts to warm up.  Temperatures have been higher and it’s only a matter of time before the rivers and lakes start to warm up as well.  For daily updates on sturgeon spawning, call the Wisconsin DNR at (920) 303-5444 for a daily recorded message.  I will also try to post on a regular basis to fill everyone in and you can expect some photos as always.  Visit the DNR’s sturgeon spawning page for viewing locations and more information:

http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/sturgeon/sturgeon_spawning.html

Here is an update Ron Bruch sent out yesterday (This update has been posted with permission from Ron Bruch and the Wisconsin DNR.):

“Status of 2011 Lake Sturgeon Run

The sturgeon are not spawning yet, but are definitely on the move to their final pre-spawn staging areas in anticipation of the big show which could start sometime next week once the weather warms after the cool period coming in over the weekend. The clues to watch for that are pretty good indicators that sturgeon are spawning are (in order of dependability): numerous large very high flocks of Canada geese flying north, aspen leaves as big as a beaver’s ear, pussy willows in full bloom, and spring peepers in full chorus at night. We are already seeing some sturgeon porpoising near spawning sites which is also a pretty good sign that spawning is imminent, although regardless of the various clues, the fish depend primarily on water temperature and will spawn when the core river temps where they are staging hit between 52 and 56 degrees F. We were at about 51 degrees in the New London area and 45 degrees in the Shawano area this morning. Our walleye electrofishing crews working just downstream from Shawano saw more sturgeon than walleye today – so it won’t be long now.

Once the run starts the best viewing areas are along the Sturgeon Trail on Cty X west of New London, at Bamboo Bend off Hwy 54 just west of Shiocton, and below the Shawano paper mill dam in Shawano. The Shawano site is the best spawning site on the river. Generally sturgeon spawn at about 20 or more sites out of the 60 total known sites on the rivers each year. This year the high water may limit the number of sites the fish can use, although all of the developed adults will spawn somewhere, and will undoubtedly put good shows on for the public at the three large public viewing sites.

We are watching sturgeon activity daily now and I will provide regular updates on what they are up to so people have a chance to plan their trip to see the big fish once they move in and commence spawning. We expect around 3500 females and 20000 males to participate in this year’s spawning run. Females don’t spawn for the first time until they are 21-34 years old and then only spawn once every 3-5 years, while males spawn for the first time when they are 14-29 years old and spawn every year or every other year.”

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

Also check out this article that the DNR published on March 30th:  Sturgeon Guards:  Protectors of Wisconsin’s Oldest and Largest Fish

The Post Crescent posted some photos of the West Shore Fishing Club pulling a shanty from the water although I’m not sure when it took place:  http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=U0&Dato=20110322&Kategori=FON01&Lopenr=103220804&Ref=PH

It’s a good reminder to get your shanty off the ice before it starts to melt!  Quite a bit harder to pull it from the water, but I guess some like the challenge.

Check back for updates and photos of sturgeon spawning!

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