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DNR talks Water Clarity on Lake Winnebago ahead of Sturgeon Spearing


The start of sturgeon spearing on the Lake Winnebago System is upon us, as spearers will hit the ice of Lake Winnebago and the upriver lakes to start the season tomorrow morning. The DNR has continued to keep an eye on water clarity on Lake Winnebago as the season draws nearer, and Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs says the visibility so far depends on where you are on the lake. “What we’re hearing, for the most part, is up to 12 feet of visibility on the northern end and on the east shore of the lake, and on the southern end, five to nine feet of visibility,” Koenigs said. He adds that the poor clarity isn’t all that much of a surprise, considering stretches of mild weather created snow melt and runoff that can impact the clarity very quickly.

What does the current clarity level mean for the length of the season? Koenigs says low visibility could lead to a full 16-day spearing season. “Typically when we have a clarity of 12 feet or more, on average, on Lake Winnebago, that’s when we’re more likely to reach the harvest caps and end up with an early season closure. Based on the data we have right now, I’m anticipating a full 16-day season on Lake Winnebago, which would be the fourth straight year,” Koenigs said. He adds the harvest still totaled over 650 fish taken from Lake Winnebago last year with worse water clarity than they have seen this year.

The season officially begins at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning, with spearers able to fish until 1 pm each day for 16 days, or until the harvest caps are met.

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