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Dick Ellis Blog:
10/9/2019
Fall brings with it something for everyone in the field from the angler to the hunter.  Just a few recent sessions of shooting the bull tell me that autumn is for the youngest of outdoorsman just learning the games to those of us more seasoned with our eyes focused dead ahead on for example, the whitetail rut. James Wallace captured this great buck on trail camera during summer scouting. James Wallace, my nephew-in-law (is there such a ...
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Winnebago systems sturgeon spearing license deadline Oct. 31

Big fish on tap for season

OSHKOSH – The deadline to buy sturgeon spearing licenses for the 2014 Lake Winnebago System seasons is Oct. 31, with the seasons shaping up to provide ample opportunity to land the fish of a lifetime as well as enjoy a tradition that brings together family and friends.

“We have been seeing a record number of big fish in the harvest over the last decade and expect more of the same for the 2014 season,” says Ryan Koenigs, Department of Natural Resources Winnebago System sturgeon biologist. “Nine of the top 10 fish on record have been harvested since 2004 and a record high 9.5 percent of the fish harvested last year exceeded 100 pounds.”

For the second year, 12-year-olds can participate in the lake sturgeon spearing season if they buy a license. Also, adults whose names were drawn in the Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing lottery can transfer their 2014 tags to youngsters, allowing youngsters a chance to spear on the lakes, where success rates have historically been higher.

There are separate seasons for Lake Winnebago and for the Upriver Lakes that begin at the same time, with participation in the Upriver Lakes season determined by lottery. The 2014 season open on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Spearers of all ages will find a healthy fishery that boasts a record number of big fish, including the 87.5 inch, 240-pound sturgeon DNR fish crews captured and tagged on April 10, 2012, below the Shawano Dam and not among the fish harvested in the 2013 season.

The trend in trophy-size fish has been increasing significantly over the last decade due to the distribution of age classes currently in the population and the impact of harvest regulations implemented over the last 20 years to increase survival of these larger fish, Koenigs says. “The fish are starting to show us their true growth potential, and I expect to continue to see larger fish in our harvest and population assessments.”

The harvest caps are the same as they have been the last two years -- 400 juvenile females, 828 adult females and 1,200 males.How and where to get spearing licenses

Licenses are $20 for residents and $65 for non-residents and can be purchased at any license sales location [http://dnr.wi.gov/permits/saleslocation.html]; over the Internet by going to DNR’s home page dnr.wi.gov and clicking on the online license center [https://jc.activeoutdoorsolutions.com/wi_public/goHome.do] or by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236.)

The minimum spearing age is 12 years, and youth who turn 12 between Nov. 1, 2013, and the last day of the 2014 spearing season can still buy a spearing license after Oct. 31. Military personnel home on leave can also purchase a license after Oct. 31.

There are unlimited license sales on Lake Winnebago, while the Upriver Lakes fishery is managed by a lottery and limited to 500 permitted spearers. Once a person is authorized to buy an Upriver Lakes license for a season, they are not able to buy a license for Lake Winnebago.

Spearers are now able to transfer Upriver Lakes spear licenses to youth spearers (age 12-17), and can do so by filling a transfer of license form at least 15 days before the 2014 sturgeon spear fishery. Spearers who applied for an Upriver Lakes license in the lottery but were not authorized received a preference point and can still buy a Lake Winnebago license before Oct. 31.FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Koenigs, Ryan.koenigs@wisconsin.gov(920) 303-5450

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