Winnebago System Sturgeon Management Envied
The Winnebago System sturgeon fishery is the envy of many whose own sturgeon populations have been in decline. DNR Winnebago System Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs explains that with lake sturgeon and sturgeon species worldwide most of the population is now in a form of recovery or a stage of recovery where they have been driven down to low levels. He says on the Winnebago System we’ve never really gotten to that point. He says, “Yes we’ve augmented it with regulation changes and changed the scale of the fishery and had regulations to do that effectively, but we still have always benefitted from having a mixed stock out there in terms of size and age structure.” He says user groups like Sturgeon for Tomorrow have also done their part in keeping the Winnebago System sturgeon fishery and others in the state strong. Koenigs says, “Notably would be Sturgeon for Tomorrow, which is a group formed in 1977 and to date they’ve raised and donated more than $1 million towards sturgeon management activities in the shape of purchasing equipment, cost-sharing some habitat projects, you know raising fish.” Koenigs tells us the sturgeon fishery on the Winnebago System is strong enough that even during a poor spearing season it supports harvesting of about 900 fish.