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Sturgeon Spearing 2014 Report, Day 6 – February 13

February 13, 2014

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spearing update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on February 13, 2014:

“Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:

Well it’s all over for the 2014 sturgeon spearing season, and I’m sure many spearers are already looking forward to 2015. A total of 89 spearers harvested fish on the final day of the season, bringing the season total on Lake Winnebago to 1,513 fish. 95 of these fish (6.3%) tipped the scales at 100 pounds or larger, which is the most fish over 100 pounds ever registered in a season.

The largest fish harvested today was registered at Jerry’s Bar by Sheri Rasmussen and tipped the scales at 137.2 pounds, measuring 72.5”. As of the time of sending this report out, I did not have a photo of this fish for inclusion in the report. The 2nd largest fish of today was a 129.2 pound, 71.8” fish that Robert Granger registered at our Harrison Town Hall station (photo attached).

DNR Photo

DNR Photo

As you may have noticed in the emails I have sent out in the last 24 hours, I take a great deal of interest in the social aspects of sturgeon spearing and really enjoy hearing, and sharing, stories from successful sturgeon spearers. Following my report yesterday about Allan Kraemer’s 42 year wait for a fish, I received an email from another spearer who knew of someone who had waited for a long time before harvesting his first fish on Lake Winnebago. As the story goes, Gale “Buckshot” Zietlow has been spearing for 55 years and has never harvested a fish from Lake Winnebago (he had speared two on the Upriver Lakes in that time). That all changed on Tuesday February 11, when Gale saw a 73 pound fish swim through the hole and threw the spear. Gale, along with his son Greg, are pictured below with Gale’s fish. If you know of any other great stories from the 2014 spearing season, please pass them along because I would love to hear them.

DNR Photo

DNR Photo

Our crew will start wrapping up the season tomorrow. I plan to send out some more information tomorrow about how this season stacks up to seasons past. Otherwise, thank you everyone for making this a very safe, successful and memorable season!”

 

Sturgeon Spearing 2014 Report, Day 5 – February 12

February 13, 2014

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spearing update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on February 12, 2014:

“Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:

The real Day 5 of the 2014 sturgeon spearing is now over and we have reached the 90% trigger for the system-wide adult female harvest cap. That means that tomorrow (Thursday) will be the last day of the 2014 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System and the season will end at 1:00 PM. The 6 day season will be tied for the 3rd shortest season since the 6-hour spearing day was implemented in 2002. I will be sending out many more summaries about the 2014 sturgeon spearing season as the data get entered and summarized. Back to today’s fishery through, a total of 118 fish were harvested today, and the registration stations on the south end continue to lead the way in numbers. A more detailed breakdown of today’s harvest can be viewed in the attached document.

The highlight of today was the new big fish for the season. John Skahen registered a 161.0 pound, 77.1” sturgeon (photo below) at Quinney today, which currently leads the way for the big fish of the year. This fish may be the largest thus far this year, but is not in the top 11 in history. The record books for big fish have been basically re-written since the 2004 season, but surprisingly no fish have entered the list this season. I have also attached a list of the top 11 fish on record.

DNR Photo

DNR Photo

Four other fish over 100 pounds were harvested today including Jeffrey Dahlberg’s 140.4 pound, 72.6” fish that he registered at Jerry’s and a 137.8 pound, 74.1” fish that Arthur Gruner registered at Wendt’s on the Lake (photo attached below). Thus far we have registered 99 fish this year that have exceeded 100 pounds.

DNR Photo

DNR Photo

Day 5 was also a long time coming for another dedicated sturgeon spearer. Allan Kraemer has been sturgeon spearing since 1972 and claims to only have missed 5-6 seasons during that 42 year period. During that 42 years he has never seen a sturgeon in the hole, but his dedication kept him coming back for more year after year. Well today it all finally paid off as he saw and speared his first sturgeon, which he proudly displayed while registering his fish at Stockbridge Harbor. We have all heard stories about people going 15 to 20, maybe 25 years without seeing a fish, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone going 42 years without getting a fish. I think most people would have picked up a new hobby during that time, but I’m glad that Allan stuck with spearing! A picture of Allan and his fish is provided below.

DNR Photo

DNR Photo

I hope many of you are able to get out and enjoy the last day of the 2014 sturgeon spear fishery tomorrow. It has been a short, yet very successful season!”

Sturgeon Spearing 2014 Report, Day 4 – February 11

February 11, 2014
The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spearing update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on February 11, 2014:

“Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:

Day 4 of the 2014 Sturgeon spearing season has come and gone with a total harvest of 152 fish. Overall, today’s harvest was much more spread out, but the south end stations of Jim and Linda’s (Pipe) and Wendt’s still produced the most fish. A more in-depth breakdown of numbers of fish registered at each station is provided in the attached PDF document.

There were 7 more fish harvested today that exceeded 100 pounds, with the largest fish of today being a 128.4 pound, 77,3 inch fish that was registered at Jim and Linda’s by Steven Lucus.

DNR photo

DNR photo

Given the harvest today and our relation to the adult female harvest cap, it appears that tomorrow’s harvest will exceed the 90% trigger for adult females and Thursday will be the last day of the 2014 spearing season on Lake Winnebago. We are currently only 38 adult females away from the 90% trigger for the adult female harvest cap, and there were 73 adult females harvested today. So barring a 50% reduction in harvest of adult females in day 5, the 90% trigger should be reached tomorrow meaning the season would close on Thursday. So I urge you to make the appropriate arrangements to get out on the ice in the next couple of days if you want another chance to harvest a sturgeon this year.”

Sturgeon Spearing 2014 Report, Day 3 – February 10

February 10, 2014
The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spearing update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on February 10, 2014:


“Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:We have now completed three days of the 2014 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System and spearers are continuing to have great success with harvesting some very nice fish. The season on the Upriver Lakes came to a close today with a total harvest of 341 fish, 11 of which were in excess of 100 pounds (3.2%). The highest concentration of fish were registered at our registration stations at Critter’s and Indian Point. The attached PDF displays a more in-depth breakdown of where fish were registered today (Note the change from yesterday where a fish that was harvested on the Upriver Lakes was tallied in the Lake Winnebago harvest totals; therefore the season’s totals are 1 more male on the Upriver Lakes and 1 fewer male on Lake Winnebago).

The harvest from Lake Winnebago today exceeded expectations, with spearers harvesting a total of 198 fish. This brings the season total to 1,154 fish with the highest volume of fish still being registered at our registration stations on the southern end of Lake Winnebago. Given that the harvest on the Upriver Lakes spear fishery exceeded the harvest cap by 4 fish, the system-wide harvest cap will be tripped first and thus drive the season length. We are now 111 adult females away from the 90% trigger for the harvest caps, which very likely would be hit on Wednesday or Thursday. So if you haven’t speared your fish yet but are looking for another opportunity, then I recommend you get out on the ice in the next couple of days.

The two largest fish of the season were registered today. Brian King leads the way thus far with his 155.0 pound, 76.4” sturgeon that he registered at our Jim and Linda’s Super Club location today (photo attached).

DNR photo

DNR photo

John Kurth also registered a very nice fish at Payne’s Point (2nd largest of the season), a fish which tipped the scales at 152.0 pounds and measured 75.4”.”

DNR photo

DNR photo

Sturgeon Spearing 2014 Report, Day 2 – February 9

February 9, 2014
It was another successful day out on the ice! We’ve had great weather this weekend and overall the conditions are perfect. Water clarity is the best we’ve see in years and the ice is thick. I’ll be posting about my flights with the DNR’s pilot Luke Wuest in the next few days and will be sharing plenty of photos from above – stay tuned! Follow Winnebago Lake Sturgeon on Facebook for live updates throughout the spearing season.

The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.

Sturgeon spearing update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on February 8, 2014:

“Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:

Day 2 of the 2014 sturgeon spearing season is in the books and, similar to yesterday, spearers were able to harvest some very nice fish. The south end of Lake Winnebago was once again the hot spot with Wendt’s on the Lake leading the way with 76 fish on day 2. The registration station at Jim and Linda’s Super Club in Pipe was not far behind with 58 fish being registered there today. A more detailed breakdown of today’s harvest can be viewed in the attached PDF document.
The harvest from day 2 was roughly half that of day 1, meaning that the season will likely go a few days into this week. The season on the Upriver Lakes came down to the wire today and the harvest was very close to emergency closure due to reaching 100% of the adult female harvest cap. In fact, the Upriver Lakes season would have ended after today if 1 more adult female would have been harvested. So the season will end at 1:00 PM tomorrow, lasting just 3 short days. The success rate for spearers on the Upriver Lakes has been very high this year, with 319 fish already having been harvested from a potential 469 license holders.

As I stated earlier, there were some very nice fish harvested today. David Feldner registered his 148.0 pound, 74.6” lake sturgeon at Jim and Linda’s today in Pipe, which is the largest fish harvested in 2014 up to this point:

DNR photo

DNR photo

Brandon Parker was also walking a little taller as he registered his 137.6 pound, 78.0” at Payne’s Point (photo):

DNR photo

DNR photo

Another large fish was registered at Critter’s in Winneconne when Shelly Gubrandsen brought in here 132.0 pound, 77.2” sturgeon:

DNR photo

DNR photo

Until my report tomorrow, stay warm out there and I hope to see you proudly displaying your sturgeon at one of our registration stations in the upcoming days!”

Sturgeon Spearing 2014 Report, Day 1 – February 8

February 8, 2014
The following update has been posted with permission from the Wisconsin DNR. This website is not affiliated with the DNR, Ryan Koenigs, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, or any other organization.
Sturgeon spearing update from Ryan Koenigs (Fisheries Biologist) on February 8, 2014:
“Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:
Well conditions were ripe for a big opening day of the 2014 sturgeon spearing season, and that is just what it was a BIG DAY!  In fact, our crews at Wendt’s on the Lake just finished registering fish and were finally able to call in their numbers at 4:40 PM.  The attached PDF document shows the harvest of sturgeon from opening day and where the fish were registered.  As the harvest table shows, the South end of Lake Winnebago was the hot spot, with 211 fish being registered at Wendt’s and 121 fish being registered at Jim and Linda’s Super Club in Pipe.  Spearers were able to harvest just over 42% of the Lake Winnebago adult female harvest cap today, meaning that the season will continue through Sunday and likely into the early part of next week. 
As for the Upriver Lakes, the season goes on but likely not for much longer.  There was a total of 242 fish harvested on the Upriver Lakes on opening day, which means that roughly half of the license holders for the lottery fishery registered a fish already.  As with the Winnebago fishery, the season continues on the Upriver Lakes.  As of the day’s end, spearers were able to harvest 69% of the adult female harvest cap and 65% of the male harvest cap for the Upriver Lakes.  We are 18 adult females away from the 90% trigger and 26 fish from the 100% trigger, meaning that the season will end if 26 adult females are harvested on Sunday. 
 
Similar to years past, the real story this year is the big fish.  We didn’t have any “top 10” fish harvested on opening day, but there still were 50 fish that tipped the scales at 100+ pounds (44 from Lake Winnebago and 6 from the Upriver Lakes).  The two largest fish harvested today were both registered at Stockbridge Harbor.  I have included pictures of both fish.  
 
William Zahringer had the largest fish on opening day, tipping the scales at 143.9 pounds, 75.4”:
Photo provided by DNR

Photo provided by DNR

Lucas Schneider also registered his 77.8”, 140.1 pound fish at Stockbridge on opening day:
Photo provided by DNR

Photo provided by DNR            

 This is the first of two emails that I plan to send out tonight, so stay tuned for the 2nd.  Also, thank you everyone for making opening day a memorable one and for pursuing the sport we all love safely!”
Sturgeon Tally, Day 1

7 Days Until the 2014 Sturgeon Spearing Season Begins!

February 1, 2014

Sturgeon spearing 2014 is only a week away, are you ready?! We’ve had a cold winter so far and for the first time in a few years, the conditions are looking great. The DNR is expecting a short, successful season unlike the past 3 that have gone the full 16 days. Walter clarity as of January 9th is 13 feet throughout Lake Winnebago and I’ve heard that there are probably over 2′ of ice on the lake. Visit the WI DNR’s “Ask the Experts” webpage to view a question and answer session concerning the season that was held live online on 1/28/2014: http://dnr.wi.gov/chat/expert.html

Following is some info for the 2014 season.

2014 Sturgeon Spearing Season:
Saturday, February 8 – Sunday, February 23 from *7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.* daily
*Harvested fish need to be present at a registration station by 2:00 p.m. of the same day the fish was harvested.

Click here to view the 2014 Sturgeon Spearing Regulations

License sales for 2014 season:
Lake Winnebago: 11412 resident + 184 non-resident = 11,596 total (compared to 11,601 total licenses in 2013)
Upriver Lakes: 482 resident + 9 non-resident = 491 (compared to 491 total licenses in 2013)
Grand Total:  12,087 licenses (compared to 12,092 licenses in 2013; 12,680 licenses in 2012)

System wide harvest caps for 2014:
400 juvenile females
828 adult females
1200 males