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Ice conditions on Lake Winnebago
Ice conditions on Lake Winnebago: About 2 feet of ice on Lake Winnebago just North East of Wendt’s on the Lake supper club. Wednesday, January 29, 2014. Patrick Flood/Action Reporter Media.
This year's sturgeon spearing season starts Saturday and is expected to produce a big harvest. / Aileen Andrews/Gannett Wisconsin Media

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Clear water, several feet of ice and a healthy population could combine to shatter records Saturday as sturgeon spearers take to Lake Winnebago.

Beginning at 7 a.m. — 30 minutes later than previous years — spearers will stare into green rectangular holes sliced by chainsaws, looking for the spine-backed monsters.

“We anticipate we’ll hit the caps this year before the 16-day maximum, after three years of going the full season,” said Ryan Koenigs, the Department of Natural Resources sturgeon biologist. “Things are shaping up for a very successful season.”

Spearers will encounter 14 to 16 feet of visibility and more than 30 inches of ice in many places.

Browse, share sturgeon season photos

View photos from the 2014 sturgeon spearing season | Upload your photos from the sturgeon spearing season or send them to botten@wisconsinoutdoorfun.com.

Last year’s 179-pound biggest catch could be beaten by one of the 80-plus-year-old sturgeon known to be looming in the deep water, feasting on gizzard shad and lake fly larvae.

“There are record-breakers out there,” Koenigs said. “But they don’t get to 200 pounds and 90 years old without dodging decades of seasons.”

More on sturgeon season: More headlines and video | Browse photos from the 2014 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

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