Sunday, February 9, 2014

Opening Weekend of Sturgeon Spearing 2014

The first and possibly last weekend of the 2014 Lake Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Season is officially in the books.  Opening day boasted one of the highest spearing totals in several years, as 636 Sturgeon were registered on Lake Winnebago alone on opening day.  242 Sturgeon were speared on the Upriver Lakes, bringing the system wide harvest up to 878 Sturgeon! 

DNR gathering measurements and samples

Extremely clear water, ideal ice conditions, and a healthy Sturgeon population all contributed to the great start to the 2014 season.  The hottest part of Lake Winnebago was the south 1/3 of the lake.  At one point there was nearly a 3 hour wait to register your Sturgeon at Wendt's on the Lake, which was a shock to everyone!  The size structure of the Sturgeon continues to improve, as many Sturgeon exceeding 70 pounds were once again harvested, with several fish topping 100 pounds.

134 Pounder Speared by Brandon Engel

Day 2 of the Spearing Season was also very successful for spearers, although the numbers weren't as strong as the opening day numbers.  This was in a large part due to the 878 less spearers that had already filled their tags!  By the end of the weekend there were 1276 taken, and the 90% trigger was exceeded for Adult Females on the Upriver Lakes.  With the trigger being met just 1 fish short of the actual harvest cap, spearers will have one last chance to spear a Sturgeon on Monday before the season will close on the Upriver Lakes.

Here Fishy Fishy

Spearers on Lake Winnebago will likely have a few more days to get a Sturgeon, as the Adult Female harvest is currently at 62%.  With fish being taken in all parts of the lake, expect spearers to continue to bring Sturgeon to the scales in moderate numbers and ultimately ending the season prior to the 16 day cutoff.

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