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Dick Ellis Blog:
3/8/2019
With Spring Turkey season just around the corner, Henry USA sent us a video now posted on our homepage that I know you’ll get a kick out of. The point is though, young hunters and smaller hunters won’t get a kick out of it at all. The wait for a gobbler can be too long to question whether or not you’re packing the right turkey load when he does show up (Dick Ellis Photo) Henry wanted to test the viability of their beautiful ...
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Day 14 Sturgeon Harvest Report

There were quite a few spearers that capitalized on the bluebird, sunny day today and harvested a sturgeon from Lake Winnebago.  In fact, today’s harvest of 39 fish was the higest of any weekday this season.  Stockbridge Harbor and Waverly Beach were the busiest stations by far, registering 17 and 13 fish respecively.  The remaining 9 fish were registered between the other three stations of Payne’s Point (4), Calumet Harbor (4) and Wendt’s (1).  I made my way around to most of our stations today and talked to a number of spearers that mentioned they would be keeping a close eye on the weather this weekend.  Many spearers also decided to pull shacks from the lake altogether today.  So it’s clear that weather will impact the last weekend of the 2019 sturgeon spearing season, but we will learn more about that impact tomorrow. There were 2 fish larger than 100 pounds harvested today.  The largest fish was 122.4 pounds (72.3”) and registered at Calumet Harbor (Pipe) by Charles Freund of Chilton.  A more detailed breakdown of today’s harvest along with a photo of Charles and his fish can be veiewed through the following links:  

Day 14 - Harvest Report.pdf 

Charles Freund_72.3 inches_122.4 pounds_Cal Harbor_2-22-2019.jpg

  

Today’s Vignette: “The 1999 Sturgeon Spearing Season” 

The 1999 sturgeon spearing season was a monumental season, but not for anything the fish did themselves. Rather, 1999 will always be remembered as being the first season that was managed under a harvest cap system.  Concerns of overharvest, particularly on adult females, lead the DNR to implement an emergency harvest cap system to protect the population.  The Natural Resouce Board voted 7-0 in favor of the harvest cap system that would enact season closure 24 hours after 80% of any of the following harvest caps were reached: 400 juvenile females, 400 adult females or 2,150 males.  The opening day harvest of 307 adult females reaached 76.8% of the harvest cap.  The opening weekend harvest reached the 80% trigger and the fishery closed on Monday. 

The harvest cap system was implemented as a permanent rule prior to the spearing season in 2000 and is still in use today.  The triggers that initiate season closures have changed, but the harvest cap system has been the most influential regulation used to safely manage harvest of the sturgeon resource.  Interestingly enough, the 1999 season would have only lasted 2 days under the current cap structure as >100% of the adult female harvest cap was reached after 2 days.       

Water clarity during the 1999 spearing season was exceptional as spearers could see down 17’.  The clear water resulted in a quick season with a harvest of 1,484 sturgeon.  I’ve included links to a few of documents that better summarize the 1999 sturgeon spearing season:  

1999 Winnebago System Spearing Season Summary Report.pdf

Article_'Large_Take_May_Close_Season_Early'_1999.pdf

Article_'End_of_the_Line'_1999.pdf

Sturg_Reg_Toals_1999.pdf

 

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Ryan Koenigs

Senior Fisheries Biologist / Winnebago System Sturgeon Biologist

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

625 E County Rd. Y, Suite 700

Oshkosh, WI 54901

Phone: (920)303-5450

Fax: (920)424-4404

Ryan.koenigs@wisconsin.gov