Sturgeon Report 2-17-16

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Here’s what DNR Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs has to say today..
Attention Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:
Today marked day 5 of the 2016 sturgeon spear fishery on the Lake Winnebago System.  There were 26 sturgeon harvested from the Upriver Lakes today, which brings the season total to 275 fish.  As I stated yesterday, we came into today 8 adult females away from the 90% trigger on the Upriver Lakes.  Well today’s harvest of 7 adult females from the Upriver Lakes fell just short of that trigger.  I would guess that tomorrow’s harvest would trip the 90% trigger, but not include the necessary 10 adult females to hit the 100% closure.  So it is most likely that the Upriver Lakes fishery would close Friday at 1:00 PM.  Stay tuned to tomorrow’s harvest report to confirm though.   
Harvest on Lake Winnebago picked up today with 27 fish being harvested, which is quite the increase from yesterday’s harvest of 11 fish.  I’m not sure what contributed to the increased harvest (if the fish were moving more, better clarity with the sun, or increased effort, etc.), but I’m sure that spearers welcomed the increased harvest today.  Registration numbers by station were pretty consistent, with Stockbridge and Payne’s Point registering the most fish.  These stations numbers may be bolstered slightly by the closure of the Waverly Beach and Harrison stations. 
Most spearers are aware of the conservation group Sturgeon for Tomorrow.  The organization is comprised of 5 chapters spread throughout the Winnebago System and each chapter has a President.  Wayne Hoelzel is the President of the Northern Chapter of SFT, and he and his son Brian (also a director) both had Upriver Lakes tags for this season.  It turns out Brian (who is also a director of the Northern Chapter of SFT) harvested his fish yesterday, but I’m happy to report that Wayne was successful today with the harvest of a 59.2”, 58 pound fish that he registered at Critter’s.  I would like to congratulate Wayne on his fish, and on behalf of all sturgeon enthusiasts out there I would also like to thank him for his efforts in protecting and promoting our local resource gem.  
SFT was formed in 1977 and has since grown into the largest sturgeon advocacy group in the world.  As a result of Wayne’s fish, I thought today would be a great day to include a vignette describing Sturgeon for Tomorrow and the cooperative relationship that SFT and DNR have in preserving and promoting our lake sturgeon population and fishery on the Lake Winnebago System.  We all work towards a common goal and have accomplished some really remarkable things.  I know that I speak for my fellow fisheries folks on the Oshkosh fish team when I say that we have benefited tremendously from our relationship with SFT.  Further, I look forward to continuing that cooperative relationship well into the future!