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Promising outlook for upcoming sturgeon spearing season

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 2:50 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s an annual tradition that starts a week from Saturday, on February 13, and all signs are pointing to the best sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago in years.

More than 11,000 people will be on the lake throughout next week getting set up for the season.

And when they cut through the ice to open their spearing holes, DNR Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs says they will be pleasantly surprised.

“Conditions are lining up for a successful spearing season this year which is welcome news for many of our spearers out there after 4 or 5 years in a row of relatively dirty water,” says Koenigs.

According to Koenigs, water clarity is the biggest predictor of spearing success and right now, reports show water clarity is up to 16 feet.

“On average though clarity was 12 feet and typically from past data, what we’ve observed is when average water clarity on Lake Winnebago is 12 feet or greater, we’re going to have an increased harvest and likely will reach the harvest caps resulting in a season closure before the maximum 16 days,” says Koenigs.

The harvest caps for this year are set at 430 juvenile females, 900 adult females and 1,200 males.

Due to the pandemic, fish registration is contactless this year and will be held at parking lots at boat launches, city parks and government buildings.

“And spearers are required to stay in their vehicle during the entire registration process, to help increase the efficiency at our registration stations we ask that spearers have their fish positioned in an easily accessible location before they enter the registration station area and also that they have their customer I-D number handy,” says Koenigs.

Successful spearers are also asked to register their fish right after harvest to avoid the typical end of day rush.

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