Skip to content

11 Days Until the 2014 Sturgeon Spearing Season Begins!

January 28, 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 January 27, 2014:
 
“Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:
 
The 2014 Sturgeon Spearing Season on the Winnebago System is less than 2 weeks away, and excitement is high for what could be a very successful season.  As of January 9, we had 12-14 feet of visibility throughout Lake Winnebago and many anglers are reporting that visibility has improved since then.  We will likely get out later this week to determine clarity again and I will be sure to send out an update after the survey is complete.  
 
The purpose of this email though, is to inform people of an online sturgeon chat that is taking place tomorrow (Tuesday January 28).  DNR sturgeon experts Ryan Koenigs, Ron Bruch, and Kendall Kamke along with Conservation Warden Supervisor April Dombrowski will be on hand to answer all your questions about sturgeon. The chat begins at 12 noon and you can join the conversation by going to the DNR website http://dnr.wi.gov/ and clicking on the chat graphic, or by visiting the DNR Facebook Page and clicking the “Cover it Live Chat” graphic on the top.”
 
Image
Advertisements

Reminder: Purchase your 2014 sturgeon spearing license by October 31st

October 28, 2013

The 2014 sturgeon spearing season will be here before we know it!  All licenses must be purchased on or before October 31st.  Licenses are $20 for residents and $65 for non-residents and can be purchased at any license sales location or at the DNR’s online license center.  You don’t want to miss this deadline!

2013 Sturgeon Spawning Update

May 4, 2013

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.

“It has been a wild and crazy spring, and the weather has affected the spring sturgeon spawn. The warm weather late last week and early this week activated fish at numerous spawning sites throughout the Winnebago System and fish were spawning at numerous sites simultaneously during the early part of this week (Monday-Wednesday). Late Wednesday afternoon it really looked like the fish were going to spawn hard at the Shawano Dam on Thursday and Friday, concluding the first spawning run which is typically the largest run. Most of the females that we were handling in Shawano on Wednesday afternoon were still hard and had not started laying their eggs, but looked to be close. However, we were very surprised Thursday morning when there was not nearly as much spawning activity below the dam as anticipated or that we normally observe. This trend continued as I was at the dam this morning and there were no longer visible fish. At this point, it looks like some of the early females spawned before the colder weather came in, but the later spawning fish did not start spawning before water temperatures started to decrease. Thus there is still spawning to take place at the Shawano Dam and the fish will wait until water temperatures warm up to within their optimal range before they come back in. There was intense spawning over the last 4-5 days, but there is likely also more action lying ahead.” -Ryan Koenigs

Sturgeon Guard & 2013 Sturgeon Spearing Season Summary

March 17, 2013

Well the spearing season might be over, but we’ll have another chance to see sturgeon coming up in April and May (if it ever warms up)!  The DNR is looking for “Sturgeon Patrol” volunteers to guard the spawning fish 24 hours a day throughout the spawning season.

Learn more and sign up here:  http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/sturgeon/sturgeonguard.html

Following are a few additional documents from Ryan Koenigs & the DNR summarizing the 2013 spearing season:

2013 Sturgeon Spearing Season Synopsis

2013 Successful Sturgeon Spearers

2013 Sturgeon Spearing Harvest Totals by County

2013 Sturgeon Spearing Harvest Totals by Lake Area & Registration Station

Sturgeon Spearing 2013 Report – Day 16

February 24, 2013

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 24, 2013:

The 2013 sturgeon spear fishery on the Winnebago System is officially over, with very similar results to the 2012 fishery. A total of 12 fish (0 juvenile females, 7 adult females, and 5 males) were harvested from Lake Winnebago today. There were a total of 306 fish (30 juvenile females, 131 adult females, and 145 males) harvested from Lake Winnebago this season, while there were 567 fish harvested from the system (Winnebago and Upriver Lakes combined). These numbers are strikingly similar to 2012 where 566 fish were harvested (242 from Upriver Lakes and 324 from Lake Winnebago). The big fish trend also continued in 2013, as 39 fish greater than 100 pounds were harvested. In fact, 9.5% of the harvested fish from Lake Winnebago eclipsed the 100 pound mark this season, which is a record. As I stated in an earlier report, sturgeon biologists in the 1950s and 1960s believed that the population was healthy if more than 1% of the harvest or adult population was larger than 100 pounds. We really have an unbelievable thing going right now with these big fish and I look forward to watching these fish grow over the course of my career. The big fish today was a 70.6”, 115.1 pound female sturgeon that was speared by Emily Walsdorf from Van Dyne. Photos of Emily’s fish are attached below, along with a breakdown of how many fish were registered at each location today and during the season.

Emily Walsdorf (Left) 115.1 lbs, 70.6”; Lonnie Ziemer (Right) 51 lbs.

Emily Walsdorf (Left) 115.1 lbs, 70.6”; Lonnie Ziemer (Right) 51 lbs.

The end of my first sturgeon spearing season as the Winnebago Sturgeon Biologist is bitter sweet. Our staff worked long hours throughout the majority of the season and will welcome a break. However, we all enjoy the sturgeon spear season and will now have to look forward to 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of my 1st season in my new position, and I look forward to many more seasons to come. The main reason that I enjoyed the season so much, and my job in general, is that I get to work shoulder to shoulder with a great crew and a public that is passionate about our sturgeon resource. I really enjoyed sitting at stations throughout the season and talking to spearers and sturgeon enthusiasts, it is the people that really make the job fun and I thank you all for making this job so rewarding! I hope for clear water next year so that we can really showcase the population and fishery that we have in the Winnebago System. The size of these fish is truly unbelievable and we continue to see top 10 fish being harvested each year, even with below average harvests.

Our crew will be tabulating data over the next few weeks and I will be sure to send out a summary of the season in the near future. I hope you all enjoyed the 2013 sturgeon spear fishery as much as I did and thank you all for your interest in our Winnebago System sturgeon population and fishery!

Sturgeon Harvest Report Day 16 2013

Sturgeon Spearing 2013 Report – Day 15

February 23, 2013

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 23, 2013:

Spearers only have 1 more day to get out and try to harvest a sturgeon during the 2013 spear fishery. A total of 21 fish (1 juvenile female, 9 adult females, and 11 males) were harvested from Lake Winnebago today, of which 3 were larger than 100 pounds. We had some very nice fish harvested again today. Ryan Theobald’s 73.4”, 144.7 pound female sturgeon that he registered at Jerry’s was the largest one taken today, and the 3rd largest fish of the season. Dwayne Haensgen also registered a nice 78.2”, 133.8 pound sturgeon at our Calumet Harbor location in Pipe. I have attached a copy of Ryan Theobald’s fish. One more day left in the 2013 sturgeon spear fishery, and then we will all have to live on the memories of past seasons until next year!

Ryan Theobald’s 73.4”, 144.7 pound female sturgeon

Ryan Theobald’s 73.4”, 144.7 pound female sturgeon

One of the reasons our sturgeon management program has been so successful is the implementation of our sturgeon guard program since 1977. The guard program helps to protect fish during the spring spawning migration and has all but eliminated illegal poaching during this time period. This year is the first year that interested sturgeon guard volunteers can sign up on-line through the DNR website at the link: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/sturgeon/sturgeonguard.html

Today’s Vignette: “Sturgeon Guard Program”

Sturgeon Harvest - Day 14 2013

Sturgeon Spearing 2013 Report – Day 14

February 22, 2013

Two more days of the 2013 sturgeon spearing season. Remember to mark your hole well after you pull your shanty off the ice and please be careful! A shanty recently floated down the river after a crack opened at the mouth of the river near Menasha.  Be safe and good luck!

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 22, 2013:

We are now down to the final weekend of sturgeon spearing for 2013, only two more days for spearers to get out there and harvest a fish. Many spearers braved the snowy weather today and harvested a total of 13 fish (1 juvenile female, 5 adult females, and 7 males) from Lake Winnebago. There were some nice fish harvested today, but none that topped the scales at more than 100 pounds. The largest fish (74.5”, 95.6 pounds) was harvested by James Hungerford and registered at Wendt’s. Believe it or not, this fish was actually a male and it had been PIT tagged in the past. PIT tags are the little chips that we inject in fish to mark them during spawning periods. Each tag has a unique 10 digit letter-number sequence that identifies that fish, similar to a social security number (more information about PIT tagging can be found in today’s vignette). We tagged this fish in April of 2005 and at that time the fish was 73 inches long. So this fish only grew 1.5” in almost 8 years! This male is also one of the largest males (by length) that we have seen in the Winnebago System. In fact, the 73” this fish was when we tagged him made him the 5th longest male that we have tagged since 1999, and we have only handled 1 male longer than the 74.5” that he measured today. This fish is likely one of the oldest males in our population, likely more than 80 years old! Our staff did collect a fin ray from this fish so we should be able to get an idea on just how old this fish truly was.

Today’s Vignette: “Why do you tag sturgeon in the spring?”

Sturgeon Harvest Day 14 2013