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Waverly Bar and Grille owner optimistic despite removal of sturgeon registration station

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 19:31:22-05

MENASHA (NBC 26) — We’re just about a month away until 2021’s sturgeon spearing season and there are a few changes you can expect this year.

“We’ve been a weigh station for as long as I can remember,” said Chuck Storino, the owner of Waverly Bar and Grille in Menasha.

Waverly Bar and Grille, one of the few places that won’t have a station this year.

“We still have great geographical locations for our spearers and many of these locations are possibly down the road or about a mile from the previous registration station,” said Ryan Koeings with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

This comes as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is moving towards a contactless process to ensure the safety of the spearers due to Covid-19.

“It's definitely going to affect business, sturgeon spearing seasons opening weekends for us and a lot of businesses, especially if they’re registration stations. But we’re still hopeful that people will still come out here", Storino said.

But as the longstanding tradition continues, the Wisconsin DNR said they’ve already sold more than 12,000 licenses for the upcoming season.

“I don’t anticipate that it will take any longer. We’re still going to be taking the same biological data from each fish. The only difference is going to be that in a normal year the spearer is bringing the fish to the station and then we collect the data, this year we’re going to walk to the vehicle, grab the fish and then collect it. But I do not envision that it will slow us down if at all", Koeing said.

This season they will also be implementing new regulations with the spear size.

They DNR said they are limiting the maximum spearhead width to 18 inches.

Despite these changes, those like Storino say they're looking forward to a fun time.

"Nice to see the different size of Sturgeon and the excitement people have seeing them and people being able to get together, talk about good stories", Storino said.