People gather at a registration station outside Critters Wolf River Sports in Winneconne on Sunday, the second day of the sturgeon spearing season, to look at fish speared earlier in the day.
Fishermen on the upriver lakes of Butte des Morts, Poygan and Winneconne will have one more day to try their luck at taking home a prehistoric bottom feeder during this year’s sturgeon spearing season.
A high count of adult female sturgeon registered on the three lakes have forced state officials to end the season Tuesday after only four days.
This year will tie 2008 for the second-shortest season since 2007, when the state began a lottery for fishermen wishing to spear on the upriver lakes. Since then, the season has lasted between four and six days. The longest season was 10 days in 2011.
“This is more of an average season on the upriver lakes in terms of length,” said fisheries biologist Ryan Koenigs of the state Department of Natural Resources.
More on sturgeon season: More headlines and video | Tweets collected during the season | Browse photos from the 2013 season | Browse photos from the 2012 season | Share your sturgeon photos | Watch cameras on the Wolf River | Watch cameras positioned in Stockbridge
Fisherman have scored 235 sturgeon on the upriver lakes since the season began Saturday, with 21 taken Monday. The 76 adult females speared tripped the 90 percent trigger for the harvest cap, prompting the DNR to close the spearing season on the upriver lakes in 24 hours.
The 16-day season is still in full swing on Lake Winnebago, however, where registration numbers remain low because of rainy weather and low water visibility, according to the DNR. A total of 69 sturgeon were harvested, far below the harvest cap of 320 young females, 745 adult females and 960 males.
The DNR has closed the Harrison Town Hall and Payne’s Point registration stations, and has decreased staff at remaining stations because of low harvest numbers. Koenigs said if things pick up, the two closed stations could reopen.
The largest sturgeon harvested Monday was a 67.1-inch, 92.2-pound female sturgeon on Lake Winnebago registered by Mandi Rahmer at the Stockbridge Harbor registration station.
— Kyle Daly: 920-993-1000, ext. 430 or email@example.com; on Twitter @kyledaly2