Friday, February 20, 2009

Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearers harvest 53 Thursday

Contact(s): Ron Bruch, DNR Senior Fisheries Biologist, 920-424-3059
Tom Turner, DNR Public Affairs Manager, 920-662-5122

OSHKOSH – “Lake Winnebago spearers were happy to learn that the season on the big lake will likely go on for a couple of more days,” said Ron Bruch, Winnebago Sturgeon Biologist. Harvest caps on Lake Winnebago haven’t been reached with only 53 sturgeon taken on Thursday. According to Bruch, the slow harvest pace guarantees an open season on Friday, February 20 and he projects that the fishery may be open for the weekend crowd on Saturday.

“The best water clarity and success still remains in the northern half of the lake, especially off the Stockbridge and Quinney areas,” said Bruch.

Thursday’s numbers include 41 female sturgeon (10 juvenile females and 31 adult females) and 12 males. Harvest caps for the 2009 season are set at 350 juvenile females, 630 adult females, or 1,000 males. Currently, juvenile females are at 77.7% of quota, adult sturgeon are at 88.9% and males are at 76.5% of quota. Spearers need to harvest 27 more adult females to pop the 90% trigger closure, or 90 adult females to hit the 100% closure trigger on Lake Winnebago.

The largest fish registered Thursday was a 132.1 pound, 74.9 inch female registered at Jerry’s Bar Registration Station by Brett Ellis of Omro. The system-wide grand total now stands at 1,346.

The DNR’s sturgeon registration crew said spearers were grateful for the low temperatures during the past two days which improved the ice thickness and reduced the runoff into the lake. Earlier runoff, following nearly a week of moderate weather, reduced the water clarity, particularly at the southern end of Lake Winnebago.

Spearing continues on Lake Winnebago. The Upriver Lakes closed on Wednesday.

Total Harvest for the Day: 53
Total Harvest thus far for the Season: 1,346

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