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Sturgeon season takes Fond du Lac by storm

Posted at 10:52 PM, Feb 10, 2024

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Whether you are a tried-and-true sturgeon spearer or simply a sturgeon fanatic, Fond du Lac County has you covered.

  • Fond du Lac county residents took to both downtown Fond du Lac and towns like Van Dyne to kick off sturgeon season.
  • Due to warmer temperatures, spearers took extra caution going onto the ice

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the season, the fish, or even just the camaraderie, kicking off sturgeon season unites everyone, including spearfishing brothers Tony and Gary Bell.

Despite the elevated temperatures resulting in thinner-than-normal ice, they found a safe way to get out on Lake Winnebago—and have fun.

“We got out there. It was kind of sketchy," Gary says. "We weren’t quite sure, but made sure it was safe enough for us to get out. I was super excited, my friends told me ‘chuck that spear’ and we made it happen.”

Then, there’s people like recent college graduate Karlee Lamb, who caught her first sturgeon ever.

“I was with my brother and my dad, the two people that I love doing the sport with," Lamb said. "So it was it was a very fun time and I'm very happy about everything and how everything went. My family has been doing this for a long time and my first fish so it’s very exciting.”

Not everyone is getting out on the ice, though. Unseasonably high temperatures are causing Lake Winnebago to freeze poorly, or, in some areas, not at all. That’s why downtown Fond du Lac is offering another avenue for sturgeon fanatics to turn to. Peter Wilke is the festival director for "Sturgeon Spectacular."

”We wanted to give something for the people that don’t go on the ice something to do, so families, individuals, groups of friends, come out and enjoy downtown Fond du Lac, enjoy the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, and all activities that are going on," Wilke said.

Sturgeon Spectacular only runs until Feb. 11, but there’s plenty to do and see from snow and ice sculptures, to curling, or even just a casual stroll down the street.

Sturgeon season itself will last 15 days or until the catching quotas are met. Veteran spearers say extra precaution on thin ice.