Sturgeon Spearing Wrapping Up
The upper rivers lakes reached harvest caps in just four days. But spearers on Lake Winnebago did not fare as well. Video by nbc26.comvideo
STOCKBRIDGE-- This is the third consecutive year the spearing season will last all 16 days on Lake Winnebago.
As the season wraps up, DNR sturgeon biologist Ryan Koenigs reflects on 2013.
"Similar to what we had in 2012, it's the tale of two different fisheries,” Koenigs said.
The upper rivers lakes reached harvest caps in just four days. But spearers on Lake Winnebago did not fare as well.
"Due to poor water clarity, spear harvest is down,” Koenigs said.
When fewer fish are coming in, it affects local businesses along the lake.
"A little bit, they still come in and complain, but with the water clarity, people can't see so as soon as they get them on the other side, they go over to the other side," said Mary Hauser of Harbor Bar in Stockbridge.
About 300 sturgeon have been registered at DNR stations this year.
Nearly 9% of the harvest weighed in at more than 100 pounds.
"Which is pretty remarkable because 10, 20 years ago and before that, it was viewed as good if we had one percent of the overall harvest that were fish over a hundred pounds,” Koenigs said.
Tim Mader of Neenah spent 5 days on the ice before spearing a 95-pounder.
"That was the best 30-40 seconds of my life, throwing that spear and feeling that fish on the other end," Mader said.
The biggest fish harvested this year weighed 179 pounds. It was speared on opening day.