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Sturgeon spearing season kicks off: Sturgeon spearing season began Saturday morning. Due to the warm winter so far crowds and ice shacks were less plentiful than normal out on the ice, but several people caught one of the large torpedo-shaped fish on Lake Winnebago by mid-morning.

Lake Winnebago totals:

Juvenile females: Monday 2, season total 13 (322 short of cap trigger).

Adult females: Monday 13, season total 43 (616 short of cap trigger).

Males: Monday 7, season total 32 (917 short of cap trigger).


The sixth-largest sturgeon on record was among 22 sturgeon registered Monday on Lake Winnebago.

Mikey Galligan of Oshkosh speared a 175.3-pound, 78.5-inch female. The fish is the sixth-largest fish by weight on record since the fishery began on Lake Winnebago in 1932.

The current record is a 212.2-pound sturgeon speared in 2010 by Ron Grishaber of Appleton.

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Chris Haedt of Oshkosh speared the fifth-largest fish on record on Saturday a 179.9 pound, 79.6-inch female sturgeon.

Department of Natural Resources fisheries supervisor Ron Bruch said less than optimal water clarity on Lake Winnebago is limiting spearing success, but spearers are hopeful that water will clear and increase their chances of seeing a fish.

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The season on the Upriver Lakes was entirely different, closing Sunday when harvest caps were reached. The 171 fish registered on the first day from the Upriver Lakes tied for the most fish taken on opening day on those waters since the lottery system in 2007.

"Spearer effort overall is expected to increase (on Lake Winnebago) as the season grinds on, providing the weather holds not too warm and no severe snow dumps and the second weekend of the season coming in five days could end up being as big or bigger from a participation and excitement standpoint as the first," Bruch said.

As expected, Monday was a slow day for spearing on Winnebago, with fewer spearers participating than during the weekend and only 22 fish registered.

That raises the three-day season total to 88 fish speared on Winnebago and 330 for the entire system, including the upriver lakes of Poygan, Winneconne and Butte des Morts. Spearing concluded for the season Sunday on the upriver lakes after harvest caps were reached there.

The slow start on Winnebago, which state Department of Natural Resources officials have attributed to unpredictable ice conditions and poor water clarity, increases the chances that the season there will run a full 16 days.

Bruch said that the season could last the entire 16 days on Lake Winnebago without reaching harvest caps that would close the season early.

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