Small Towns: Sturgeon spawning brings a rare experience to Shiocton

Posted: 10:32 PM, May 09, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-31 23:00:24-04

Every spring in Shiocton, Wisconsin, the Wolf River carries some new company to this community of 900 people.

"We always try to make the trip up here," says James Dutscheck of Oshkosh.

Dutscheck is taking in the sturgeon run with his wife and kids, which is something they try to do every year.

The welcoming party for the thousands of Sturgeon spilling onto the shore and into the streets.

"We came up a couple years ago and traffic was stopped dead still on 54. In Shiocton Wisconsin there is a traffic jam! Unless you saw it you probably wouldn't believe it," says Ron Gedemer of Weyauwega. This spring Gedemer brought a lifetime friend along for the sightseeing just to show off the spectacle of sturgeon.

For many of the visitors, many who will wait years to spear one of these fish in the winter, this is truly unique.

"You do wait years to see them on the big lakes through the ice hole," adds Dutscheck.

"What I was surprised to learn is that this is perhaps the foremost Sturgeon watching place in the United States," says Russ Schroeder of Park Falls, Wisconsin.

For just a few days each year, typically in April, the sturgeon run and put on a show in Shiocton.

It’s truly an opportunity to watch something that most, will never have the opportunity to see in person.

"If you happen to be there at the right time it's fantastic. But timing is the whole deal," says Schroeder.

Just below the surface in just a handful of spots across the state, sturgeon are making more sturgeon. Contributing to a storyline you'll likely only hear about in northeast Wisconsin.

"Can't see them anywhere else," says Dutscheck.

Thousands of Sturgeon are laying eggs on special banks managed just for them. The pre-historic fish come here and in their wake, they leave thousands of yet to be told stories in their wake.

"It's awesome for the kids to be able to see 15-20 of them at a time it's pretty cool." Adds Dutscheck.

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