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Sturgeon Spawning Update from Ron Bruch on April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011

This update has been posted with permission from Ron Bruch and the Wisconsin DNR:

“There has been a female or two each day this week coming in to spawn at the Sturgeon Trail on County Highway X, west of New London. We tagged fish there a couple days but the numbers of fish are quite low. There is one spawning group still active at the time of this e-mail – probably one female and about 15-20 males at this site, so if people want to see a few fish they might still be able to see some of this action today yet.

The few fish that have been coming in at this site are still part of a very meager “1st run”. The water temperatures are well below the optimum range for lake sturgeon spawning (39 to 42 degrees F, with optimum being 54-56). I have never seen our lake sturgeon spawn at temperatures this low. As I mentioned though in an earlier update, it isn’t the temperature so much as it is the amount of time each female “stews” in water temps close to the optimum range which is where we were a week ago before the cold weather and the snow entered the scene. It is possible that a female or two could continue to trickle into the Cty X spawning site over the next few days until the anticipated big “2nd run” takes place.

The timing of the big spawning push is difficult to predict, although it will likely begin once we see water temps get in the low 50s. Given the weather forecast for the next ten days (which if you have been following, have been all over the board – c’mon you weather guys!), we are supposed to see air temps warming gradually over the weekend and peaking on next Tuesday, but fairly cloudy. I expect (and hope) this will initiate the main spawning activity by mid week – but we’ll see.

We are checking the main spawning sites every day and we will keep you posted regularly now on fish activity. We are getting close, although I would not at all be surprised to see spawning continuing into the month of May this year, as well a “3rd run” in mid May. The average date of peak sturgeon spawning activity on the Wolf River over the past 50 years is April 25, so we may be a little later than that this year, but given how early spawning has been over the past couple of years, we kind of loose our perspective on what is early and what is late. We’re not too far off the average.”

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

For a list of sturgeon spawning sites and more info, click here.

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