OSHKOSH – The sturgeon spearing seasons opening Feb. 14 on the Winnebago System got their start 77 years ago as part of an economic stimulus plan aimed at helping feed hungry Wisconsinites during the Great Depression.
That history of how Wisconsin’s modern-day sturgeon season was born is just one of dozens of stories that fill People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish, a new book coming in October 2009. Advance orders are being taken now.
A cooperative effort by several agencies, institutions and organizations involved in sturgeon management, the book features dozens of sturgeon stories collected from spearers, decoy carvers, poachers, retired game wardens and sturgeon biologists, Menominee Tribal elders, and others from throughout the Winnebago-Fox-Wolf River System. The book also features the photography of the late Bob Rashid.
People of the Sturgeon can be previewed and pre-sale copies can be reserved at [http://www.winnebagosturgeon.org/].
Ron Bruch, a Department of Natural Resources sturgeon fisheries biologist, co-authored the book with Kathleen Schmitt Kline of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Sea Grant Institute, and Fred Binkowski of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Great Lakes WATER Institute. The Wisconsin Historical Society Press is the publisher, and Sturgeon for Tomorrow, a local sturgeon conservation organization, donated $25,000 to help underwrite publishing costs of the 300-page book. Royalties from sales of the book will support the DNR's Lake Winnebago System sturgeon management efforts.
For the record, the Winnebago spearing season was reopened in 1932 after a 17-year closure as part of a Wisconsin legislative bill designed to provide economic relief to the citizens of the state. The idea for the bill was initiated by the Twin City Sportsmen’s Club in Neenah. State Senator Merritt C. White from Winneconne drafted a bill to open sturgeon to a fall hook and line season, Bruch says. Soon after, legislators from around Lake Winnebago amended the bill to include an ice spearing season on the Lake Winnebago, a season spearers will again enjoy this year.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Bruch (920) 424-3059