Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 Lake Sturgeon Spawning

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The 2012 sturgeon spawning season on the Wolf River has officially begun. Sturgeon are now spawning along the Sturgeon trail west of New London on County Highway X. We captured and tagged 75 fish there this afternoon in about 3 hours. To our knowledge this is the only site with active spawning at this time, but there were fish on shore this evening at Bamboo Bend west of Shiocton and, although they were not actively spawning, will likely be spawning there by tomorrow afternoon if not sooner. There are also fish below the Shawano dam, again they don't appear to be spawning there yet either, but their numbers are beginning to build in the river below the dam. I expect spawning could commence in Shawano and numerous other sites on the river system sometime in the next 4 to 5 days.

Many people have asked if we have ever seen the fish spawn this early before. We have only been keeping records since 1950 and since that time we have not seen the sturgeon spawn this early before (the earliest since 1950 would have been the first week in April). But - old weather records indicate that 1938 was also very warm in mid to late March and it is very possible that sturgeon may have spawned in March that year as well. In fact we have some adult sturgeon in our population spawning this year that would have also spawned in the early warm spring of 1938! These would be the 90 to 100 year old and older females or the 180+ pound fish we have in our population.

Wolf River Cam at Shawano Dam - underwater (exit DNR)

Wolf River Cam at Shawano Dam II- above water. (exit DNR)

Call the sturgeon hotline number for recorded daily updates: (920) 303-5444.

Sturgeon Guard
Track the Rivers
Lake Sturgeon Spawning/Viewing Locations on the Wolf River

Maps open to larger images. Sites are listed from North to South.

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Shawano Dam in Shawano - Parking available on the east side of the river at the end of Richmond Street.
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Bamboo Bend at Shiocton - on County Highway 54. Parking available on the north side of County Hwy. 54.
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Wolf River Sturgeon Trail (near New London) - about 2 miles west of New London on County Highway X. Parking available on the south side of the river about 1/2 mile from the spawning site

During mid-April to early May, Lake Sturgeon travel upstream to their spawning grounds, giving the public a prime opportunity to see these
ancient ones up close.

Sturgeon spawning is dependent on water temperature and flow. During seasons when water flow is high and water temperatures rise slowly, spawning begins when water temperature reaches 53 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, during seasons of low water flow and more rapid water temperature rise, spawning does not begin until water temperatures reach 58-59 degrees Fahrenheit.

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