Thursday, February 19, 2009

Upriver Lakes sturgeon season closed Wednesday; Winnebago open

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

1,293 sturgeon taken so far in the 2009 season; only 55 registered today

OSHKOSH – Only 55 sturgeon were taken from the Winnebago lakes as snow, poor visibility and a mid-week slump of spearers coming out to their shanties combined to make Wednesday a very slow day. In addition to a lackluster day on the ice, the 2009 spearing season on the Upriver Lakes came to a close. The season on Lake Winnebago has not reached a closure trigger yet and remains open to those with a Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing license.

According to Ron Bruch, DNR’s chief sturgeon biologist, “Spearers need to harvest only 58 more adult females to pop the 90% trigger that would mean that the season would close at 12:30 the following day. Of course, if spearers take 121 more adult females, the season ends that same day.”

On Wednesday, the DNR’s sturgeon registration team reported that 47 fish were speared on Lake Winnebago including 35 female sturgeon (11 juvenile females and 24 adult females) and 12 males.

On the Upriver Lakes, Wednesday’s take was 8 including 4 females (2 juvenile and 2 adult females) and 4 males. To date, there have been 1,293 sturgeon speared this season on both Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes.

“With the Upriver lakes closed, the attention through the end of the season falls on the big lake,” said Bruch. “At the current harvest rate, the season on Lake Winnebago could remain open for several more days and may go into the upcoming weekend.”

This season, 4,031 people applied for the Upriver lottery. Five hundred Upriver licenses were sold. The DNR sold 10,239 licenses for spearing on both Winnebago and Upriver lakes. The department reported 6,853 shanties set up on the Winnebago pool of lakes on opening day.

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