Opening Day Sturgeon Spearing Results

DNR Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs writes:

The opening day of the 2017 sturgeon spearing season is in the books. Overall, I have to say things are off to a good start. The highlight of today is the size of some of the fish harvested. Of the 198 fish harvested from Lake Winnebago, 15 were 100 pounds or larger (7.6%). There were 3 fish larger than 140 pounds harvested today: 1) Sandra Schumacher’s 154.7 pound, 78.5″ fish registered at Stockbridge (photo shown), 2) Mason Krueger’s 145.6 pound, 73.2 pound fish registered at Jerry’s Bar and 3) Craig Kelliher’s 140.5 pound, 76.0″ fish registered at Wendt’s. Sandra’s fish is the largest fish harvested since the 2014 season. Three of the 123 fish (2.4%) harvested from the Upriver Lakes were 100 pounds or larger today.

Earlier this week I reported that the best water clarity was along the east and north shores of Lake Winnebago and that showed in harvest numbers by registration station (harvest table attached). Stockbridge Harbor paced the way with 59 fish registered on opening day, followed by Payne’s Point (37), Quinney (30), and Wendt’s (28). Critter’s received the majority of the fish registered on the Upriver Lakes with the other stations of Indian Point and Boom Bay registering far fewer fish.

Today’s opening day harvest of 198 fish on Lake Winnebago ranks 11th of 16 seasons since shortened spearing hours were implemented in 2002. With today’s harvest we currently are at 12.5% of the adult female harvest cap on Lake Winnebago. Each of the 5 previous seasons with lower opening day harvests went the full 16-days. So at this point I am bracing for the long season that likely will go 16 days. The harvest of 123 fish from the Upriver Lakes ranks 10th of the 11 seasons since the lottery fishery was implemented in 2007. We are currently at 31.6% of the adult female harvest cap and 32.8% of the male cap on the Upriver Lakes. Thus, we are expecting this season to at least go into mid-week but likely longer.