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2012 Sturgeon Spearing Season Opens in 72 days!

November 30, 2011

In a little over 2 months, 12,680 sturgeon spearers will head out on Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes for the 2012 sturgeon spearing season!  It seems so far away right now, but it will come up incredibly quickly.  Soon enough there will be snow on the ground and a a thick layer of ice on the lakes.  With the season coming up soon, I plan on updating this site with info, photos, and more so check back often!  I want to get a head start on photographing this year as there is just too much to cover during the season.  Check out Ron Bruch’s latest report below (The following update has been posted with permission from Ron Bruch and the Wisconsin DNR.  This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.):

“Dear Winnebago Sturgeon Enthusiasts,

Hope you all had a great deer season and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. Our Ashland County deer camp didn’t harvest any deer, but we still had a great time. Thanksgiving with family couldn’t have been better. I wanted to get out a few sturgeon items to you before we get into our pre and post-Christmas/New Years holiday crunch preparing for the 2012 Winnebago sturgeon spearing season:

Sturgeon Shanty Rentals

We get numerous calls every year from people interested in renting a spearing shanty on lake Winnebago and the Upriver lakes. I have an old list of shanty rental contacts, but it is quite old and needs updating. If you or someone you know rents shanties for the spearing season on Lake Winnebago and/or the Upriver Lakes, please get your contact information to me and I will compile a new list and get it out there for people to refer to.

Sturgeon License Sales for 2012 Season

Our post October 31 license sales for the upcoming 2012 spearing season on Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes were:

Sturgeon Spearing License Sales for 2012We will likely sell a few 14 year old licenses yet before the season begins, and maybe 1 or 2 military on leave licenses, but even without these the total of 12680 is a 2.1% increase over 2011 license sales and a 48.6% increase sine 2007. For the 2012 Upriver Lakes season 4597 people applied for a tag in the lottery (up from 4144 in 2011) and we authorized the purchase of 500 licenses selling a record 498.

Harvest Caps for 2012 Sturgeon Spearing Season

Surveys over the last 5 years indicate a consistent increase in the adult lake sturgeon stock which justified a modest increase in the juvenile and adult female harvest caps. At the same time, exploitation rates have consistently been held at or below the target limit of 5%.

Population densities and exploitation rates are illustrated in the figures below:

In light of the current population status the following harvest caps have been set for the 2012 spearing season (JF=Juvenile Females; AF=Adult Females; M=Males):

Sturgeon Spearing Harvest Caps for 2012Public Meetings to Discuss Winnebago System Sturgeon and Walleye Management

We (DNR) will be hosting some public meetings in late January 2012 around the Winnebago System to review and discuss the sturgeon and walleye management program on the system and answer questions the public may have about other fisheries on the system as well. We will send out more information once we have set time and places for the meetings. Key topics will be:

Sturgeon management including how we assess the population and fishery; population and harvest trends; discuss our ongoing joint efforts with the Menominee Tribe to re-establish sturgeon in the Wolf River and lakes on the Menominee Reservation; sturgeon migration/telemetry study results; status of sturgeon stocking efforts on the upper Fox River; Walleye management including how we assess the Winnebago System walleye population and fishery; population and harvest trends; initial results from 3 year walleye migration/telemetry study; results from 2011 walleye electroshocking study; updating of the Winnebago Walleye Management Plan; Status/information on other Winnebago fisheries: perch, sauger, etc.

Stay tuned – more info to come on these meetings and the upcoming sturgeon season…………..

I hope to have the 2012 Sturgeon Spearing Regulation Pamphlet out by Christmas.

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

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