Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Sturgeon season ends with snow and wind; 1,512 final harvest total

Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearers harvest 89 Saturday

OSHKOSH – The 2009 sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago ended at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with a total of 1,512 fish taken from the combined lakes of Winnebago, Poygan, Winneconne, and Butte des Morts.

Sturgeon Biologist Ron Bruch said, “The registration tally on Friday popped the 90% trigger for adult female sturgeon which gave spearers one more day to harvest their fish on Lake Winnebago before that season closed. That day was Saturday.” The Upriver Lakes season closed on Wednesday.

Spearers took a day’s total of 89 sturgeon on Saturday including 44 female sturgeon (14 juvenile females and 40 adult females) and 35 males.

The final count for this season for both Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes is 1,512. A breakdown tally is 301 juveniles (86% of quota), 615 adult females (97.6% of quota), and 596 males (59.6% of quota). Harvest caps for the 2009 season were set at 350 juvenile females, 630 adult females, or 1,000 males.

“A snowstorm and strong winds created white-out conditions on Lake Winnebago today,” said Bruch. “But that didn’t stop large numbers of dedicated sturgeon spearers from driving out on the ice to their shacks this morning in an attempt to get their sturgeon on the last day of the 2009 season.”

Bruch reported several statistics on past and current sturgeon seasons on Lake Winnebago. More regular Lake Winnebago licenses were sold in 2009 than any other year (9,596), more shanties on the ice than any other year (6,213), and the second highest sturgeon harvest (1,237) since 2004, when spearers took 1,854 sturgeon from the big lake.

The Upriver Lakes had an opening day shanty count of 640. Sturgeon taken from Upriver lakes numbered 275. There were 4,031 lottery applications and 490 Upriver licenses sold.

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