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Sturgeon Spawning Update from Ron Bruch on April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011

The following report has been posted with permission from Ron Bruch and the Wisconsin DNR:

“Yesterday, Thursday, was another cold, cloudy, and rainy day which resulted in falling water temperatures (again), but despite the cold weather, lake sturgeon were actively spawning at a number of sites, and actually initiated spawning at a couple of additional sites further upstream. The march of spawning activity north appears to be slowly happening despite the uncooperative weather. We tagged over 80 fish yesterday at 4 different sites in the New London and Leeman areas. Fish are not spawning yet at Shawano, but the weather forecast says we will finally see air temps back in the 60s today, which should quickly bring water temps back up and bring fish in at Shawano and a number of other important northern spawning sites. Although, we still do not have fish spawning at Shawano yet, there are fish there that people can see. Sturgeon did begin spawning on the Little Wolf River below the Manawa Dam – another site where people can access to see fish; and there will still be a few fish hanging around at the Sturgeon Trail on County X west of New London, although the major spawning at this site may be close to wrapping up for the year. Little to no activity at Bamboo Bend at Shiocton, although the warm weather may bring some fish on at this site yet for the weekend – we’ll see what happens.

I expect the warm weather we are supposed to see today and the next few days will finally bring this sturgeon spawning season to its final peak; and finally bring us to the river in Shawano to finish our work for the year. We’ve been chasing these fish for 14 days now and are ready to wrestle the 200+ pounders we see at Shawano. To date we captured and tagged around 400 fish, but have a ways to go to hit our annual goal of 1000 – which we can easily do in two good tagging days at Shawano. Hopefully we will start this end run tomorrow in Shawano. In addition to wrapping up our tagging operations we will also be collecting eggs at Shawano for several lake sturgeon restoration programs: for the upper Tennessee River System in Georgia and Tennessee, for the Milwaukee River restoration project, for Menominee Tribe’s restoration program on Legend Lake, and for our upper Fox River restoration project.

Here’s a couple of links with information about our sturgeon spawning assessment:

So – my crews will be heading out shortly to work fish at sites in the Leeman area while we wait for Shawano to begin – with any luck we’ll see large numbers of fish massing below the dam by late today.

You can watch sturgeon spawning at a site on private property on one of the Wolf River Cams at the following link:

You will see sturgeon moving back and forth in front in front of the camera, debris being kicked up by spawning fish, eggs settling to the bottom. Great stuff!

More tonight……

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

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