Sturgeon Report 2/17

Ryan Koenigs with the Wisconsin DNR gave this report on day four of the sturgeon spearing season:
Day 4 of the 2015 spearing season is in the books with a total harvest of 218 fish (191 from Lake Winnebago and 27 from the Upriver Lakes).  Coming into today we were 8 adult females away from the 90% trigger for adult females on the Upriver Lakes and spearers reached that mark exactly.  Of the 27 fish harvested on the Upriver Lakes today, 8 were adult females meaning that tomorrow (Wednesday) will be the last day of the 2015 Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing season.  The season will conclude after 5 days, which just happens to be the average length of that season since he lottery fishery was implemented in 2007. 
Lake Winnebago continued to support a strong harvest today.  In fact, today’s harvest of 191 fish exceeds last year’s Day 4 harvest of 152 fish.  Of the 191 fish taken from Lake Winnebago today, 3 were larger than 100 pounds and all were registered at Payne’s Point.  Chad Cherney’s  81.3” female topped the scales at 137.5 pounds, making his fish the largest fish harvested this year.  I wrote in detail last night about the below average condition of sturgeon being harvested this year.  I just compared Chad’s fish to the top 11 heaviest fish on record and his fish is actually longer than 9 of the 11 fish on that list!  What a difference the extra fatty food source of gizzard shad can make on fish condition and weight. 
At this point, we know that the Upriver Lakes will close Wednesday and that we are getting closer to closure on Lake Winnebago.  At this point, I would anticipate the Lake Winnebago spear fishery to close either Friday or Saturday.  It will depend on harvests over the next couple days and how much the cold weather will affect spearing effort and success.  Until my next contact, good luck spearing out there!