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Jared Blohm, a former employee of The Reporter, is shown with the 73-inch, 105-pound sturgeon he speared on opening day on Lake Winnebago. Blohm is now employed as managing editor of an outdoors magazine published in Iola. Blohm said he had a pretty good Saturday.
Jared Blohm, a former employee of The Reporter, is shown with the 73-inch, 105-pound sturgeon he speared on opening day on Lake Winnebago. Blohm is now employed as managing editor of an outdoors magazine published in Iola. Blohm said he had a pretty good Saturday. / Submitted photo

The eighth day of the 2011 sturgeon spearing season brought in a fair amount of fish Saturday from Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes.

Total harvest included 70 sturgeon from Lake Winnebago and 16 fish from the Upriver Lakes.

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The season continues today as harvest caps were not met.

On Lake Winnebago, 212 adult females are needed to hit the 90 percent closure trigger.

Only one adult female was registered Saturday on the Upriver Lakes. One more female or seven males are needed to trip the 90 percent closure trigger in that area, said Ron Bruch, Winnebago sturgeon biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Five top 100 pounds

The overall harvest Saturday included five fish 100 pounds or larger. The largest was a 171.3-pound, 75.6-inch female from Lake Winnebago registered at the Jerry's Bar station in Oshkosh by Michael Bartell of Oshkosh.

A total of 50 fish were speared Friday, including two fish of more than 100 pounds. The largest fish was a 115.3-pound, 69.4-inch female registered at the Wendt's registration station near Van Dyne. The fish was speared by Kevin Abraham of Fond du Lac.

The death on Saturday of an Appleton man whose car plunged through the ice near the town of Harrison in Calumet County warns of the danger of changing ice conditions on the lake.

Several vehicles went through the ice on Lake Winnebago on Saturday after hitting pockets of bad ice brought on by the recent warm weather and snow melt.

"The problem areas, according to spearers coming off the lake, were wash-out areas on previously established roads and some sturgeon holes that occurred from the rapid snow melt, wind and ice movement," Bruch said. "As always, spearers need to take every precaution when traveling on the ice and need to make sure they know the path they are taking whether in a vehicle or on foot is absolutely safe and has sufficient ice to carry them and their vehicle."

While many sturgeon spearers are experts at reading ice conditions, the quick snow melt, wind and resultant water movement on the ice this past week can challenge even the most veteran sturgeon spearer, Bruch said.

About 85 percent of the adult sturgeon in the Winnebago System call Lake Winnebago their home, while 13 percent reside between spawning runs in the Upriver Lakes.

Totals for day

Saturday's totals by lake area and harvest category:

  • Lake Winnebago: 13 juvenile females, 25 adult females, 32 males; 964 total for the season.

  • Upriver Lakes: three juvenile females, one adult female, 12 males; 330 total for the season.

  • System-side: 86 total for the day; 1,294 total for the season.

    The season can run as long as Feb. 28 if harvest caps aren't reached.

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