Sturgeon Report 2-15-16

Today’s Sturgeon Report is brought to you by Air Tech Heating and Cooling.

DNR Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs writes about Monday’s results:

Day 3 of the 2016 sturgeon spearing season is now complete and the total harvest dropped substantially from yesterday. There were a total of 44 fish harvested on the Winnebago System today (24 from Lake Winnebago and 20 from the Upriver Lakes). There were only 5 adult females harvested on the Upriver Lakes today, meaning that we are still 16 adult females away from the 90% trigger and that the season may continue longer than originally thought. The north end of Lake Winnebago continues to be slow and for that reason I have decided to close our Waverly Beach station through the rest of this week. We will be opening the station back up for the 2nd weekend, but that station will be closed Tuesday-Friday. Successful spearers can register their fish at either Stockbridge Harbor or Payne’s Point.

There is some exciting news to report from today’s harvest and that is the season’s largest fish. Daniel Bloesl registered his 77.0″, 147.9 pound sturgeon at Indian Point today (photo included), and it turns out this is the largest fish harvested during the past two seasons. Daniel’s fish was categorized as an F4 (black eggs) meaning that it would have spawned during the 2016 spawning run. Daniel was generous enough to allow us to remove the eggs for fecundity (egg count) estimates. The fish contained 41.52 pounds of eggs (28.1% of body weight) and was estimated to contain 960,873 eggs.

We frequently get questions about the DNR collection of eggs during the spear fishery and what we do with those eggs. Over the past 12 seasons we have estimated fecundity for 174 lake sturgeon ranging in size from 45.7-80.8″ (23.9-175.3 pounds). My predecessor, Ron Bruch, was the lead author on a 2006 publication describing some of the early results of this project. This work was published from the preliminary results of 14 fish. Ron, Glenn Miller, and myself plan to publish an updated report including the larger data set that we will have following this season. This will no doubt be the largest fecundity data set for lake sturgeon and we can’t thank spearers enough for contributing to the data set.

Good luck spearing as the season continues to move along. I would love to hear any great sturgeon spearing stories from this season, and I’m sure other folks on this list would as well. Feel free to send them to me via email and I will use some of them in my daily reports during the remainder of the season.