Although sturgeon spearing activity was light on Sunday, authorities say they have reached the 90 percent trigger for closing the season on the upriver lakes of Butte des Morts, Poygan and Winneconne.
That means the 2011 season on the upriver lakes will end today at 12:30 p.m. Spearers will have until 1:30 p.m. to register their fish.
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By comparison, the season is expected to run through its scheduled conclusion this coming Sunday on Lake Winnebago, where the majority of the sturgeon spearing takes place.
"On Lake Winnebago, we need 201 adult females to hit the 90 percent closure trigger there and given the impact the snowstorm today will have on reducing effort to near zero over the next couple of days, we expect the season on Winnebago may last the full 16 days allowed by current rule," Ron Bruch, a sturgeon expert for the state Department of Natural Resources, said Sunday.
Bruch said "a few dedicated spearers" braved the ice and snow Sunday to spear a total of 26 fish, including 23 on Lake Winnebago and three on the upriver lakes.
That brought the season total to 1,321 fish, including 988 on Lake Winnebago and 333 on the upriver lakes.
The largest fish of the day, a 106.5-pound, 69.5-inch female, was registered by Caleb Kempen of Neenah.
Due to anticipated reduced spearing, the DNR says it will be closing registration stations at Calumet Harbor, Quinney and Harrison Town Hall until further notice.
Spearers on the east shore of Lake Winnebago are asked to register their fish in Stockbridge.
"We will watch to see if spearing pressure increases going into next weekend, and if needed, we will re-open needed stations at that time," Bruch said.