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Sturgeon Spawning Update from Ron Bruch on May 1, 2011

May 1, 2011

According to Ron Bruch’s update, it sounds like a great day to head to Bamboo Bend in Shiocton to see the sturgeon spawn and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  The sun is shining, but the temperature is still in the 40’s and the wind is blowing.  It should be a nice day though and I would imagine that the river banks will be packed all day onlookers.  I’ll post my own update and some photos later, so check back!

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

“The old saying “Good things will come to those who wait” must mean that we are going to have one whale of run of spawning lake sturgeon in Shawano this year, once they finally start doing there thing there. We’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the weather to give us two warm days in a row, for the water temperatures to finally get into the 50s at Shawano, and for the fish to finally start spawning there. Nothing yet. I checked the site this morning at daybreak and the water temp was 48.2; there are many sturgeon there, but they just haven’t been pushed over the edge physiologically yet to initiate spawning. Looks like we are going to have a fairly clear day today with a fair amount of sunshine, but air temps only getting to 50, so we’ll see what happens by the end of the day.

Yesterday, Saturday, our two crews captured and tagged about 250 sturgeon at various sites in the New London, Shiocton, and Leeman areas. Fish finally came back in to Bamboo Bend yesterday. This was the site we started tagging spawning fish at this year – way back on April 16 in a blinding snowstorm – seems like a year ago already, but it has only been two weeks since that date. I just received a call from our Law Enforcement Sturgeon General while typing this report, Carl Mesman, letting me know that Bamboo Bend near Shiocton this morning is loaded with spawning sturgeon as far as you can see. This would be a good day for people to take a ride to Shiocton to see this spectacle.

So – we’ll head back to Shiocton and Leeman today to tag fish, and continue to wait for things to heat up at Shawano. As I mentioned in one of my initial e-mails this season, as much as you think you know about these fish – they make sure you understand you don’t know it all. While we wait for Shawano though, we are getting great numbers of fish captured and tagged at spawning sites that we typically don’t get chance to work. Patience they say is a virtue – we’re getting really good at it.

Through all of our trials and tribulations this spring, we are very fortunate to be able to draw on the rich experience of our more senior team members. I’ve been doing this for more than two decades, but I am a piker compared to a few other guys on our crew. I’ve attached a photo of the four Sturgeon Horseman who have a combined total years of more than 175 years of experience tagging sturgeon: L to R in Photo, Mike Penning, Dan Folz, Jack O’Brien, and Mike Primising. Mike Penning, Dan, and Jack are part of our crew everyday. Mike Primising usually comes for a day or two every year to give us a few pearls of wisdom and keep us grounded in sturgeon reality.

Photo provided by the DNR.

And the saga continues…….till tomorrow.

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

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