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January 31, 2011 2011 Winnebago sturgeon spearing season opens Feb. 12

OSHKOSH -- Record numbers of spearers are expected for the Feb. 12
opening day of the 2011 Winnebago sturgeon spearing seasons, and fish
populations, increased harvest caps, and conditions are coming
together for another banner year, state fish biologists say.
“There are more trophy-sized fish in the system than at any time
during the last 75 years, and we've been able to raise the caps
because the population has increased,” says Ron Bruch, Department of
Natural Resources fisheries supervisor in Oshkosh.
“Three weeks out, ice conditions are excellent and water clarity, fair
to good now, is expected to improve. All of these factors should come
together for another record-setting year in terms of increased
spearing opportunities and the chance to land that really big fish.”
License sales for the season set a new record at 12,423 (including the
490 sold for the Upriver Lakes fishery), reflecting the growing
interest in recent years by a wider range of people attracted by the
growing success of spearers and the big fish.
Last year, Ron Grishaber of Appleton set a new state record on opening
day with the 212.2 pound lake sturgeon he speared, erasing the
previous record by 24 pounds. Recent state harvest and sturgeon survey
results suggest that there are many more big fish to be had.
Trophy lake sturgeon are typically considered to be any fish 100
pounds or larger, and historically fish this size have made up less
than 1 percent of the total annual harvest. But in the last decade,
the percentage of trophy fish has gradually increased over the last
decade to more than 5 percent in 2010.
Regulation changes developed through a joint effort by DNR and the
Winnebago Citizens Sturgeon Advisory Committee since 1993 have lead to
an increase in the Winnebago lake sturgeon stock, and an increase in
the number of trophy size fish in the population and, subsequently,
the harvest, Bruch says.
“The sturgeon harvest management system we currently have in place on
the Winnebago System is a world model,” Bruch says. “Key to our
success is not only effective control of harvest, but also the process
we use to pro-actively involve the public in our sturgeon management
program – the public has great ownership and pride in this program.”
In 2010, the DNR estimated there were 15,800 females and 31,700 males
in the adult spawning stock. “Given these robust numbers, we have been
able to raise the harvest caps again for the 2011 season which should
translate into more spearing opportunities.”
Water clarity and ice conditions shaping up
Spearing success in any year is ultimately affected by ice conditions
and water clarity on the Winnebago lakes, and this year ice conditions
are excellent and water clarity, fair to good right now, is expected
to improve unless there's a warm up that leads to melting snow or rain
running off into the lake.
“Three weeks out, there is about 12 feet of visibility in most areas
of the lake,” Bruch says. “Clear ice on the lake in early January
allowed enough sunlight through to generate an under-the-ice algae
bloom. The bloom appears to be diminishing, and barring another bloom
or run-off event soon, spearers are hoping water clarity will improve
before opening day.”
Ice thickness is generally 16 to 20 inches over most of the lakes,
although people traveling on the lakes need to always exercise caution
and know where expansion cracks and under-ice current areas are, Bruch
says.
Fishing and spearing clubs around the lake system mark and maintain a
network of roads on the lakes, as well as bridges over expansion
cracks, for safe travel. Roads are marked every one-tenth of a mile
with an upright Christmas tree. Christmas trees lying on their sides
mark thin or dangerous ice areas.
Season details
Bruch expects nearly all 12,000-plus spearers will be out anxiously
peering down their spearing holes when spearing officially begins at
6:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12. Spearers are allowed to spear each day
the season is open from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Sturgeon spearing regulations for the 2011 season are nearly identical
to 2010. The rules are the same on Lake Winnebago as they are on the
Upriver Lakes, with the exception of different harvest cap triggers
and participation rules.
The Lake Winnebago season runs from Feb. 12, 2011, through Feb. 28,
2011, or until the pre-set harvest cap for Lake Winnebago is reached,
OR the pre-set harvest cap for the entire Winnebago System is reached,
whichever comes first.
The Upriver Lakes season runs from Feb. 12, 2011, through Feb. 28,
2011 on Lakes Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan, or until the
pre-set harvest cap for the Upriver Lakes is reached, or the pre-set
harvest cap for the entire Winnebago System is reached, whichever
comes first. Participation in this season was determined by a lottery
for the required sturgeon tag, with 500 people selected from among
those who submitted an application by Aug. 1, 2010.
Successful lottery winners had until Oct. 31, 2010, to purchase a
spearing license for the Upriver Lakes. Sturgeon spearing licenses for
the Lake Winnebago season were not limited and were available to those
spearers who purchased them by Oct. 31, 2010.
Spearers can only participate in the season for which they have a
spearing license. A full listing of regulations for the Winnebago
System sturgeon spearing season can be found on the Lake Winnebago
sturgeon page of the DNR Web site or at DNR service centers.
Spectators welcome
Opening weekend is especially an exciting time as the largest number
of fish are typically brought in to registration stations those two
days Besides spearers bringing their fish in to one of the 11
registration stations scattered around the lakes, thousands of
onlookers also crowd many of the stations to catch a glimpse of the
large pre-historic fish being brought in. The sturgeon spearing season
lasts an average of about eight days before the harvest caps are hit,
and in that short time spearers and other sturgeon enthusiasts produce
an economic impact to the Winnebago region of more than $3.5 million
dollars.
Sign up for e-mail sturgeon spearing updates
People can sign up for an improved e-mail subscription service or
wireless updates to make it easier to learn about Winnebago system
sturgeon spearing updates. Visit the Winnebago System Sturgeon
Spearing Season 2011 page of the DNR website to sign up. Look for
"Fishing Updates" and check "Sturgeon Spearing" to get the updates.
Updates will include a daily summary report from Ron Bruch, Department
of Natural Resources lead sturgeon biologist, daily (and running)
system harvest totals, and miscellaneous news from the day.
"If people want the information, they won’t have to look for it
anymore, it will find them," says Karl Scheidegger, DNR fisheries
outreach leader.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kendall Kamke, Winnebago fisheries
biologist (920) 424-7880; or Ron Bruch, fisheries supervisor, (920)
424-3059.

Archive

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  • June 17, 2009 Fond du Lac County Business Development News
  • June 17, 2009 Sign Up To Receive Air Alerts for Fond du Lac County
  • June 12, 2009 State Budget Bill AB75 Update; June 12
  • June 10, 2009 DNR Proposal to change Shoreline Regs
  • June 9, 2009 Governor signs 3 bills into law
  • June 8, 2009 Wi Windpower opportunities blowing away
  • June 8, 2009 Proposed legislation re public land use
  • June 4, 2009 Hunting Ash Borers
  • June 3, 2009 Haulers garbage fees to be passed to consumers
  • June 1, 2009 New landfill charges
  • May 27, 2009 Trash haulers worry about tipping fee hike
  • May 5, 2009 Panel OKs closing walk-in centers for hunting, fishing licenses
  • May 1, 2009 Legislators introduce wind siting bill
  • April 29, 2009 Citizens file appeal of Rosendale Dairy Permit
  • April 27, 2009 Rural residents w/o high speed internet
  • April 26, 2009 New broadband technologies can connect even the most remote places
  • April 23, 2009 Emerald Ash Borer
  • April 21, 2009 Governor Doyle Approves Transit Projects for Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Funding
  • April 21, 2009 Prevailing wage measure worries municipalities
  • April 20, 2009 Mowing the Lawn and What To Do With Grass Clippings
  • April 20, 2009 Stimulus money could bring broadband to rural homes - Complete an Online Survey To Help Distribute Grant Money
  • April 20, 2009 Town of Ashford Liquor Applications for 2009-2010 Licensing Period
  • April 14, 2009 Officials: Landfill plan stinks
  • April 13, 2009 Uniform siting rules for wind power projects sought
  • April 11, 2009 Wind turbines complicate weather monitoring
  • April 9, 2009 Legislation regarding wind energy production being circulated
  • April 8, 2009 Managed Forest Law Getting Another Look
  • April 8, 2009 Spring Election Results
  • April 7, 2009 Emerald ash borer jumps across state
  • April 6, 2009 Town of Ashford Open Book Notice
  • April 6, 2009 Notice of Town of Ashford Board of Review Meeting 5/11/2009
  • April 6, 2009 Notice of Town of Ashford Board of Review Meeting 5/11/2009
  • April 6, 2009 Town of Ashford Annual Meeting April 11, 2009
  • April 5, 2009 Informational tools aim to protect wetlands, help landowners.
  • March 26, 2009 Update on State Budget by Senator Joe Leibham
  • March 25, 2009 Fond du Lac County Spring Roads Posting
  • March 25, 2009 Fond du Lac County Candidates and Referendum Questions for April 7, 2009 Election
  • March 23, 2009 Governor’s proposed budget includes farmland preservation
  • March 18, 2009 Wasps May Help Locate Ash Borers
  • March 17, 2009 Fond du Lac County Current Highway Projects
  • March 16, 2009 Mapping Wisconsin Communities Workshops
  • March 9, 2009 Gottlieb and Hopper Introduce Transportation Fund Protection Amendment
  • March 9, 2009 Government Accountability Board
  • March 9, 2009 DOT Implements Spring Thaw Restrictions
  • March 5, 2009 Bill Proposed That Would Eliminate Spring Electrions
  • March 2, 2009 DNR approves expansion of Rosendale dairy farm to 4,000 head
  • February 28, 2009 Shared revenue cut hits communities unevenly Wealthier areas to lose a larger portion, lower dollar amount
  • February 26, 2009 Online Voter Registration Suggested
  • February 26, 2009 Milw Journal on Fed Transportation monies
  • February 20, 2009 Old Shingles To Cover New Roads
  • February 19, 2009 Low turnout prompts call to move spring vote to fall
  • February 19, 2009 Low turnout prompts call to move spring vote to fall
  • February 16, 2009 Town Of Ashford and Auburn Water Testing
  • February 11, 2009 Outline of Plan From Governor Jim Doyle
  • February 2, 2009 Some lawmakers want to ditch spring elections
  • January 27, 2009 Oregon Farm Receives Dane County Agricultural Grant to Grow, Market Healthy Berry
  • January 26, 2009 Mega dairy hearing draws hundreds
  • January 26, 2009 WDOT Seeking Comment
  • January 25, 2009 PSC Final Report on Great Lakes Wind Energy
  • January 15, 2009 Minnesota, Wisconsin consider sharing to cut costs
  • January 12, 2009 Purchase ensures wetlands preservation
  • January 9, 2009 Southeast Wisconsin Woodland Owners Conference
  • January 7, 2009 KOHL & ISRAEL INTRODUCE WEEKEND VOTING BILL
  • January 5, 2009 Statewide Solar Power Project Possible
  • January 5, 2009 DNR Hearings on Proposed Rosendale Dairy
  • January 2, 2009 2009 IRS Mileage Rates
  • January 1, 2009 2009-10 Assembly GOP Committee Assignments
  • December 28, 2008 Midwest States May Work Together To Buy Road Salt
  • December 26, 2008 Wisconsin Manure To Energy
  • December 19, 2008 Rosendale Dairy denied variance
  • December 17, 2008 Frozen road law goes into effect Dec. 22
  • December 16, 2008 COMMERCE OFFERS WINTER SEASON MAINTENANCE TIPS FOR PRIVATE ONSITE WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS
  • December 15, 2008 Cedar Ridge Wind Farm begins producing emissions-free energy
  • December 14, 2008 Give Wind Farms a Fair Chance - A Wisconsin State Journal editorial dated December 12, 2008
  • December 9, 2008 Waste Morphs Into Energy - More Methane Could Reduce Costs
  • December 9, 2008 Wisconsin Boasts Most Manure-To-Energy Projects
  • December 2, 2008 64 more acres sought for Harrington Beach State Park
  • November 11, 2008 Doyle: Deficit Could Reach $5 Billion or More
  • November 7, 2008 PSC Adds Two New Area Codes to Supplement the 715 and 920 Area Codes
  • October 29, 2008 New Factory Farm in Rosendale Threatens Significant Impact to the Environment
  • October 22, 2008 Governor Doyle Dedicates Major Addition to Kettle Moraine State Forest