Day Four Sturgeon Report
DNR Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs writes:
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone out there! We are now ¼ of the way through the 2017 sturgeon spearing season, and harvest numbers continue to drop with each passing day. A total of 70 fish were registered today with 46 coming from Lake Winnebago and 24 from the Upriver Lakes. After today’s harvest from the Upriver Lakes, we have now reached 60.0% of the adult female harvest cap and 63.4% of the male cap. A harvest of either 29 adult females or 63 males is still needed to reach the 90% trigger and force an early season closure.
Today’s harvest included 5 more fish weighing 100+ pounds, including 2 fish larger than 140 points registered at Jerry’s Bar. John Leroy’s 149.4 pound (77.1”) fish was the heaviest fish of the day, but there was a 81.6” fish (144.8 pounds) also registered at Jerry’s Bar that was longer. John honored the Valentine’s Day holiday by kissing his fish. As a side story, I was fortunate to harvest one fish in my spearing career and that fish was harvested on Valentine’s Day 2010. Although my fish was not near the size of John’s, I still have fond spearing memories of this date.
There has been a lot of discussion about the mild weather we have had during the first 4 days of the spearing season. Further, there is concern about the weather forecast starting this upcoming weekend. The sturgeon spearing season will NOT be closed early due to weather, but we want to make sure that spearers are aware of the warm temperatures (upper 40s) forecasted for later in this week and into this weekend. I strongly recommend that spearers stay up to date on ice and landing conditions in the areas that they plan to travel. Also, stay in touch with local fishing clubs and conservation groups maintaining access points and roadways as some of the local fishing clubs may choose to pull their bridges if conditions worsen. Also, make sure that you properly mark your sturgeon hole with wood lathe cut into the ice any time you move your shack from that location. Unmarked abandoned holes pose serious safety concerns for people travelling on the lake and placing the lathe in a snow bank is not sufficient to mark holes.