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Sturgeon Spawning Update from Ron Bruch on April 24, 2011

April 24, 2011

It sounds like this should be a good week for sturgeon spawning, so I’m hoping to make it out and get some photos of the action.  I saw this sturgeon on the Wolf River Cam a few days ago:

The following update has been posted with permission from Ron Bruch and the WDNR:

“Thanks to Dan Folz and Mike Penning who checked sturgeon activity today, I was able spend time in church, with family, and overeating. Big Dan of course is my predecessor and one of the original sturgeon biologists on the Winnebago System; and an important mentor and good friend of mine for the last 35 years. This year will be Dan’s 52 year tagging sturgeon on the Wolf River. Mike is also retired DNR who has been part of our sturgeon crew for about three decades as well. These guys taught all of us working today on Winnebago sturgeon a lot about how to read the behavior of these fish during the spawning season. Their report today indicates that we finally may be seeing things line up for the main run of sturgeon spawning on the Wolf River 2011.

Several new females moved in and started spawning vigorously with dozens of males this afternoon along County X, Sturgeon Trail, west of New London. Fish have also began moving in along the rocks at Bamboo Bend along Hwy 54 west of Shiocton, although at 3 PM this afternoon spawning had not yet started there, the fish were behaving like things would start sometime yet this evening or tonight. The numbers of fish now moving on shore at these two sites, along with the steady increase in water temperature over the last three days may be just what we need to get things rolling this week with the main pulse of sturgeon spawning on the Wolf River this year. Water temps in New London were at 46.4 degrees F this afternoon, up from 40 degrees a few days ago. The magic temps are typically in the low to mid 50s for sturgeon spawning, but given it is getting late this year, and the fish have already “stewed” in water at or above 50 degrees this spring prior to the cold spell last week, they may start the big push at a lower temperature. The next couple of days should tell the story.

We will be tagging fish tomorrow at Cty X and hopefully Bamboo Bend, then checking out fish activity at the Shawano Dam. You can see a sturgeon occasionally now on the underwater Wolf River Cam at Shawano Dam http://wolfrivercam.com/Shawano%20Dam.html; and when we start tagging there hopefully sometime this week you will be able to watch our tagging operation live on the “Shawano Above” cam set up at the dam http://wolfrivercam.com/Shawano%20Above.html. You can also see sturgeon now and then move up into the camera view on the “Shawano Above” camera at this time. The number of fish in this view should build over the next few days hopefully. This camera is located where we annually see and capture most of the 200 pound+ females. Once we begin netting here I will let you know so you can try to watch us on the web cam tagging fish. The Wolf River Cam is not a DNR operation, but is an exceptionally well run operation by a private business out of Shiocton.

Stay tuned……………looks like this may finally be “the week”.

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

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