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Sturgeon Spearing Update from Ron Bruch on February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012

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.

Winnebago Sturgeon Spearing Report – Sunday February 26, 2012

Sturgeon Vignette for the final day of the 2012 sturgeon spearing season – “When it’s over it really aint over”

The 2012 sturgeon spearing season is finally over on Lake Winnebago, all the fish are in, we are already starting to enter data and process numbers, but the season in a variety of ways continues on for many spearers. Not in their shacks peering down their spearing holes, but in the myriad of things that happen once the official clock runs out on a season. Spearers that haven’t done so already will be getting their shacks off the lake. By law all shanties/shelters must be removed from the ice (for all inland waters south of Hwy 64) by the first Sunday following March 1, this year Sunday March 4. Spearers will also be cleaning up their spears, decoys and other gear, and packing it all away in wait for the 2013 season (you can start purchasing your 2013 Winnebago spearing licenses or Upriver Lakes applications in a few weeks by the end of March).

Overall my first thoughts about the season include being thankful we had a safe season. Winnebago sturgeon spearers, as I’ve said many times, are as good as anyone in the world at reading ice and traveling on it safely. My thoughts also include how fortunate we all are to have this great sturgeon resource that we all have had a hand in getting to where it is today, and that we can look forward to many more spearing seasons because of our efforts. Finally, despite less than optimal conditions due to marginal water clarity and ice, spearers still had a great time, local establishments hopefully had successful seasons, we saw some very nice fish (36 fish or 6.3% of total 566 fish harvested were 100 pounds or larger), and we all demonstrated once again how vibrant and colorful our Wisconsin sturgeon culture is.

The stories from this year will live on beyond the close of the actual season today. They will be told and re-told through the coming years in season de-briefings, sturgeon banquets, and taverns around the lake. What a fish; what a place; can’t wait ‘til next year!

Today’s totals:

Big Fish Today: 114.6pound, 71.0 inch, F4 female speared by David Ehlke, Oshkosh, (no photo) registered at Jerry’s Bar, Oshkosh (the land of the 100 pounders).

Another nice fish: 76.3 lb, 66.2 inch, F2 female speared by Shelby Derr of Oshkosh, registered at Wendt’s (one of two fish to come out of same hole this morning). (DNR Photo)

Thanks everyone for another great season.

Till the Final Season Wrap-up Report (which we should have out in about 3-4 weeks),

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

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