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Day 1 of the 2012 Sturgeon Spearing Season

February 11, 2012

How was opening day for you?  It was a cold one out there  today and the wind definitely didn’t help.  The morning started in the single digits and the temp is at about 12 degrees now with the wind chill at approximately -5 degrees.  I didn’t do too much running around today, but stuck around Filrelane 8 and Waverly Beach near the shoreline.  There are definitely less shacks on the ice this year, and although I don’t have the official number, the word is that there are about half the shacks and spearers that were out there last year. 

Lake Winnebago on opening day of sturgeon spearing 2012 looking toward High Cliff

Lake Winnebago on opening day of sturgeon spearing 2012 looking toward High Cliff

I sat in Dan Remmel’s shack off of Firelane 8 for a bit this morning with a bloody mary in hand and got the latest scoop.  The water clarity is fair and we could see the pipes on the bottom in 12′ of water, but it was a bit cloudy.  The shack is sitting on 13″ of decent ice.  We saw a few larger shad in the hole, but not much else.Sturgeon Spearing Hole

I ventured out and ran into Nick Philippi from Clintonville and his freshly speared sturgeon.  Last I heard, only 13 or so fish were speared total, but we’ll wait for the final numbers from Ron Bruch.

Nick Philippi & his 86lb. sturgeon

 A little after 12:30pm Nick and his sturgeon made it to Waverly where the crowd was happy to see a fish.  Only 2 fish were registered total at Waverly today!  Nick’s F1 sturgeon is 71.6″ long and weighed in at 86 lbs.  He speared it west of Firelane 8 in about 15′ of cloudy water.  He said he has been spearing for 4 years now and that this is his first sturgeon.  Congrats Nick!

Nick Philippi & his 86lb. sturgeon
Nick Philippi & his 86lb. sturgeon

Opening day of sturgeon spearing 2012 at Waverly Beach in Menasha

The only other excitement at Waverly involved an empty semi that broke through the ice in a few feet of water near the boat landing.  Don’t ask me what the semi was doing out there, but it definitely provided entertainment for the crowd.  After an hour or so passed, a few large trucks were able to pull it successfully out of the water and the crowd let out a huge cheer.

Semi stuck in ice during opening day of sturgeon spearing 2012

I’m going to head back out for a bit, but check back later for more news from around the lake and the final numbers from Ron Bruch and the DNR!  And please share photos and stories from the ice!

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