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Sturgeon Spawning Update 2 from Ron Bruch on May 1, 2011

May 2, 2011

Here is the second update of the day from Ron Bruch.  I did make it to Bamboo Bend today, so will be sure to post more info and photos shortly!

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

“My crew and I are dog-tired an battered after wrestling sturgeon all day in the cold wind attempting to collect a liter of eggs from 5 ovulating females and 3 milliliters of sperm from 25 males today. Due to their unique internal “plumbing” neither males nor females give up their gametes very easily. Also – just trying to find 5 ovulating females on a day that is not what we would consider a peak spawning day is definitely a challenge. But I have an outstanding crew that was up to the challenge and although it took us till nearly dusk, we got ‘er done. The eggs will be on their way to the federal Warm Springs Hatchery in Warm Springs, Georgia in the morning where they will be hatched and reared throughout the summer and become the 10th year class of Wolf River lake sturgeon stocked into the upper Tennessee River System to restore the species in the very southern part of their natural range in North America. US Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery Supervisor Carlos Echevaria and his crew have come to Wisconsin for the past ten springs to help us collect eggs from our lake sturgeon for their program. Carlos has invented a portable egg incubation system on a trailer that he uses to bring the eggs back to the Warm Springs Hatchery in Georgia. The eggs incubate their way back to Georgia in Carlos’s trailer before they are transferred into the hatchery incubation system, hatched and reared for fall stocking. You can read more about the Georgia and Tennessee lake sturgeon programs at:
http://www.fws.gov/warmsprings/FishHatchery/species/lakesturgeon.html
http://www.tnfish.org/LakeSturgeonRestoration_TWRA/AcipenserFulvescensResorationTennessee_TWRA.htm

We have very much enjoyed working with Carlos and his crew all these years and look forward to their return to the Wolf River each spring about as much as we look forward to the sturgeon returning.

Today we saw spawning activity ramp up at some more northern sites on the Wolf and Embarrass Rivers which means hopefully Shawano will not be too far behind. The fish could possibly start spawning there in a day or two, but the forecast for cold weather again for the start of this week (especially very cold nights) could put the fish off for a few more days at this site. Once the fish start spawning at the Shawano site though, I will make sure to let you know as soon as I can. The sturgeon spawning show at Shawano is absolutely amazing, but always the last spawning activity to start on the Wolf.

Spawning is pretty much in the books at the New London sites, although there may still be a few females that come into these sites over the next week. Things could start winding down in Shiocton as well over the next day or two, but like the New London sites, the Shiocton sites have also been known to host small 2nd or 3rd runs a week or two or even three after the main spawning activity occurs at these sites – all dependent on the weather – alternating cold spells and warm spells.

Till tomorrow…

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

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