Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2012 Lake Sturgeon Spawning

Monday, April 9, 2012

We accomplished a tremendous amount of good sturgeon work today at the Shawano spawning site and beyond………

  • dip netted, captured, and PIT tagged almost 300 lake sturgeon;
  • collected sperm from about 75 males and eggs from 15 females for various restoration projects;
  • conducted river-side seminars on sturgeon biology and life history with over 100 interested publics and several school classes;
  • completed interviews with 2 Television crews, 1 radio crew, and a couple of newspapers on the 2012 sturgeon run; and
  • finished all of the tagging, egg taking, seminaring, and interviewing in time to drive up to 2 hours to represent Fisheries at the annual Spring Conservation Congress meetings in 10 counties in our work unit (10 of our crew including myself).

The sturgeon came into the Shawano site consistently all day and it appears they may spawn out in a couple more days or by mid to late week. Fish also moved into a couple of other sites downstream from Shawano so this thing isn't over yet. I expect fish could show up at other sites as well and extend the season even beyond the big push at Shawano

We're ready to roll tomorrow with the full crew at Shawano capturing and tagging spawning lake sturgeon. The images on the "Sturgeon Cam" tell us it should be another big day. Check them out...

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. (End – WDNR release)

Photos below taken and posted by John E. Durben, President, WCSFO. Click on photos to enlarge.

April 9, 2012

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The tails from the Spawning Sturgeon resemble a scene from the movie Jaws as they’ve come to a Dead-end at the foot of the Dam in Shawano, WI.  Members of the WDNR crew haul a fish up the west bank of the Wolf River to check to see if it has been tagged. If  it isn’t tagged they will tag it before they release the fish. Other information about each fish is gathered as well.

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Another fish is caught in the landing nets to be processed for tagging and release. This guy is riding the slide back down to the River after being released.

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The water churns while the fish perform their annual ritual. The right photo shows the Dam which is the end of the line for this journey. Many others have spawned down river by this time.

April 10, 2012

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The crew moved to the center of the Wolf River today. The fish are all around them which makes it easier than tripping over the rocks on the river bottom or carrying those heavy fish up the hill as they did yesterday.

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Although you can barely see the constant mist from the water flowing through the Dam, you can’t see the occasional snow flakes blown around by the wind. It had to be cold out there. The guy in the center is wrestling a Sturgeon to the platform to get measured and tagged. One of the Sturgeon has a Lamprey hitchhiking on it’s back.

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