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Opening Day Sturgeon Report : 2/10/18

10-Feb-2018

Photo: Ben Berger's Sturgeon weighed in at 155.6 pounds and 75.6 inches long


By Ryan Koenigs, DNR Winnebago System Sturgeon Biologist


Opening day of the 2018 sturgeon spearing season has come and gone and I’m sure many spearers are now wondering how todays harvest went. For the most part, things went as we would have anticipated with less than ideal water clarity conditions. Lake Winnebago was on the slower side with an opening day harvest of 83 fish. The surprise for the Lake Winnebago fishery is where the fish were harvested from. Given the lack of gizzard shad this season and the dirtier water on the south end, we were anticipating some of the northern stations being busier than southern stations. The opposite was observed today as Wendt’s paced the way (27 fish) followed by Jerry’s Bar in Oshkosh (16 fish) and Calumet Harbor in Pipe (15 fish). There were 7 fish harvested from Lake Winnebago today that were 100 pounds or larger with the largest fish being Robert Redman’s 137.5 pound, 74.6” sturgeon that he registered at Wendt’s.

 

Coming into the season, the Upriver Lakes had better water clarity conditions than Lake Winnebago. Thus, we were anticipating a more successful opening day harvest. Between the three registration stations on the Upriver Lakes, 136 fish were registered including 42 adult females. Today’s harvest reached 44% of the adult female harvest cap so the season should go on for at least another few days. The biggest fish of the day was registered by Benjamin Berger at Critter’s, weighing 155.6 pounds and measuring 75.6 inches. I have included a photo of Ben and his fish, which is the heaviest fish harvested from the Winnebago System since the 2014 spearing season!

 

A more detailed breakdown of today’s harvest can be viewed in the attached document. I also have included a table below comparing today’s opening day harvest on Lake Winnebago to the opening day harvest from other spearing seasons dating back to the 2002 season when the shortened spearing day regulation was implemented.

 

Year

LW Harvest

Water Clarity (ft)

LW Shanty Count

2018

83

6.5

4448

2017

198

9.5

5074

2016

84

9

3831

2015

468

12

4436

2014

636

15

4046

2013

41

8

2724

2012

39

10

2197

2011

283

13

4321

2010

515

16

4033

2009

389

14

5958

2008

635

18

3171

2007

195

10

4411

2006

39

6

3434

2005

215

16

2604

2004

1310

15

4751

2003

248

7.5

4150

2002

228

7.5

4368

 

 

 I also included a table comparing today's opening day harvest on the Upriver Lakes to spearing seasons dating back to when the lottery fishery was implemented in 2007.

Year

URL Harvest

2018

136

2017

123

2016

151

2015

126

2014

242

2013

140

2012

171

2011

159

2010

141

2009

117

2008

169

2007

168

 

We were fortunate to have good opening day conditions for flying and were able to estimate shanty counts on the Winnebago System. Below is the shanty counts for Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes.

  

Area 1 (NW): 1,049

Area 2 (NE): 643

Area 3 (W): 545

Area 4 (E): 684

Area 5 (SW): 822

Area 6 (SE): 705

Total: 4,448

 

Butte des Morts: 83

Winneconne: 63

Poygan: 409

Total: 555

System Total: 5,003

 

 

So as I stated earlier, the first day of the 2018 spearing season is now behind us. As it stands now, we are bracing for a full 16-day season on Lake Winnebago and likely a shortened season on the Upriver Lakes. We should be able to better predict season length on the Upriver Lakes after we see what tomorrow’s harvest brings. Good luck on day 2!

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