Despite the winter of 2012 being the winter that never was prior to the Sturgeon Spearing opener, many anglers still chose to brave the variable ice conditions on Lake Winnebago in hopes of spearing a Lake Sturgeon through their Sturgeon Hole.
Opening Day 2012 was the least productive opener in over a decade, with only 39 Sturgeon Registered on all of Lake Winnebago. There were 5 Juvenile Females, 18 Adult Females, and 16 males harvested on Saturday. There are several factors contributing to the quiet opener, including inconsistent ice conditions making for unsafe travel on the ice, poor water clarity compared to most years, and frigid cold, snow, and blustery winds on the day before the opener which kept many spearers off the lake.
Truck travel is not suggested on the lake this year, since the ice depth is currently varying from as little as 4" to 18" in some areas. There are still trucks going out on certain parts of the lake, but extreme caution is advised, as no fish is worth your life! Four wheelers and snowmobiles have been the most common means of transportation on the ice this winter, but remember you are never 100% safe on the ice. Working cracks have been the primary source of vehicles falling into the lake.
For more up to date information on the status of the season and harvest cap numbers, check out the DNR website at http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/sturgeon/lakewinnebago/