Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Dave Bartz, of Wautoma registers a 116-pound sturgeon at Wendt's on the Lake near Van Dyne on opening day of the 2013 spearing season on Lake Winnebago. / Aileen Andrews /For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
Sturgeon spearers received both good news and bad news at the conclusion of the second day of the annual central Wisconsin rite of winter.
The good news? They likely will see a full 16-day season on Lake Winnebago.
The bad news? The number of adult females taken from the upriver chain of lakes is near the cap point and a shutdown there is imminent.
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A total of 74 sturgeon were speared on the Upriver Lakes and 21 on Lake Winnebago, bringing the two-day opening weekend totals to 214 and 60, respectively.
“Throughout opening weekend there were 70 adult females harvested from the Upriver Lakes and we are quickly approaching the adult female harvest cap of 83 fish,” Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist Ryan Koenigs said in a news release.
“We currently are five adult females shy of the 90 percent trigger and 13 adult females short of the 100 percent trigger. So fishing will continue on the Upriver Lakes (Monday), but the season will close if 13 or more adult females are harvested. Spearers will still be able to fish Tuesday if Monday’s harvest on the Upriver Lakes includes 12 or less adult females.”
Poor water conditions were again blamed for the low harvest on Lake Winnebago, although a 771/2-inch, 118-pounder was registered at Quinney.
“It appears that we will likely have our third straight 16-day season,” Koenigs said. “Water clarity has been poor throughout the season and reports indicated that conditions were getting worse in some areas of Lake Winnebago. Hopefully, conditions will improve as the season goes on.”