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Sturgeon spearing begins February 11, 2023

Fond du Lac, WI – With one of the largest lake sturgeon populations in North America, the Winnebago System supports an annual spearing season that will run for a maximum 16 days (Feb. 26) or until any of the predetermined harvest caps have been met.

Photo Courtesy: Wisconsin DNR/David Nevala

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is preparing for the sturgeon spearing season opener Feb. 11, giving spearers a chance to harvest Wisconsin’s largest and oldest fish species.

With one of the largest lake sturgeon populations in North America, the Winnebago System supports an annual spearing season that will run for a maximum of 16 days (Feb. 26) or until any of the predetermined harvest caps have been met. This year’s harvest caps have been set at:

Sturgeon

 

If harvest caps are met early, a closure notice will be posted to the DNR’s Winnebago System sturgeon spearing webpage.

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Season Predictions

The sturgeon spearing season length is usually dictated in part by water clarity of the Upriver Lakes and Lake Winnebago. Warmer temperatures this winter prevented biologists from safely conducting water clarity assessments until this week.

There is an average of 13.0 feet of water clarity around Lake Winnebago with generally clearer water on the eastern shores as well as farther from shores along the west side of the lake.

With better water clarity this year, we should see a good harvest, though the warm weather could deteriorate ice conditions which may reduce spearing success. Recorded low chironomid densities (lake fly larvae/red worms) this year may also impact sturgeon distribution around Lake Winnebago.

Spearers can find the full water clarity report, season forecast and daily harvest updates on the Winnebago System sturgeon spearing webpage.

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