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Winnebago sturgeon spearing: A 212-pound record

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What a start to sturgon spearing Saturday on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. Ron Grishaber of Appleton, Wis. registered a 212.2 pound, 84.2-inch sturgeon Saturday morning. I find it even more interesting that a record of 34 sturgeon of 100 pounds or heavier were registered opening day.

Here is the first day report.:

Winnebago sturgeon spearers harvest 656 on opening day

Winnebago & Up River Lakes Report for Saturday, February 13, 2010

OSHKOSH - It was a record smashing day on Lake Winnebago today for the start of the 2010 sturgeon spearing season. Fish biologists working on the Winnebago Pool of lakes have been handling fish in their spring spawning surveys in excess of 200 pounds for several years now, and finally one of these large super-trophies has shown up in the spear harvest. Ron Grishaber of Appleton registered a 212.2 pound, 84.2" sturgeon this morning at the Harrison Registration Station, west of the village of Sherwood.

Another record - the largest male sturgeon ever registered in the spear harvest -- 116.8 pounds, 71 inches -- was brought in to the Winneconne registration station at Critters.

Also a record number of fish greater than or equal to 100 pounds were registered today - 34. Thirty-one of these were taken from Lake Winnebago and 3 were taken on the Upriver Lakes.

Both the Lake Winnebago and Upriver Lakes seasons are set to run from February 13 through February 28 unless spearers reach pre-set harvest caps. According to Ron Bruch, DNR Senior Sturgeon Biologist, it is possible the Upriver lakes could hit either the 90% trigger by 12:30 PM tomorrow (Sunday) which would mean the season would close Monday at 12:30 PM; or possibly hit the 100% trigger by close of fishing on Sunday which would close the season on the Upriver Lakes at 12:30 PM Sunday.

Harvest caps for Lake Winnebago are set at 280 juvenile females, 666 adult females and 800 males. Caps for the Upriver Lakes are set at 70 juvenile females, 74 adult females and 200 adult males. Caps for the entire Winnebago System are 350 juvenile females, 740 adult females and 1,000 males.

Saturday's Lake Winnebago take was 515 including 324 female sturgeon (68 juvenile females and 256 adult females) and 191 males. Lake Winnebago is at 38.4% of its adult female harvest cap (343 to go to hit 90% closure trigger; 410 to go to hit 100% closure trigger).

On the Upriver Lakes, the take was 141 including 66 females (28 juvenile and 38 adult females) and 75 males. Upriver Lakes are at 51.4% of their adult female cap (29 to go to hit 90% closure trigger; 36 to go to hit 100% closure trigger).

System-wide, there were 656 sturgeon taken Saturday -- 96 juvenile females; 294 adult females; 266 males.

Commenting on the number of very large fish in the Winnebago Pool population, Bruch says his team has seen it increasing over the last 15 years due to regulations developed by DNR fisheries staff and the Winnebago Citizens Sturgeon Advisory Committee. These regulations were implemented in the 1990's and were designed to decrease the annual exploitation of adult female sturgeon (which are the largest fish in the stock, but the most vulnerable to overharvest). Another reason for these regulations was due to large hatches of sturgeon over a 20-30 year period in the early 1900s that are now entering the super-trophy size in their life. Lake sturgeon, especially females, are believed to be able to live for 150 years or more. The 212 lb record breaker harvested today has not been aged yet, but it likely in excess of 100 years old.


Monday's report indicated the triggers to shut the season would likely be hit today. If that happens, I will repost.

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17 Comments

I'm not PETA or HSUS, but sturgeon spearing really makes me puke. There is no legitimate justification for this annual slaughter. These fish are ancient and rare in most of their native range. If Wisconsin has an abundance of Lake Sturgeon, they could perhaps be better used to repopulate waters where the species has already been extirpated by humans.

I agree with Mr.Cranium. Unfortunately, as in so many cases, where humans mess with Mother Nature, the magnitude of this irresponsible behavior will only be recognized in hindsight.
Silly humans...

i see by your name that your not a smart guy so dont be so ignorant

I too, feel that this practice is archaic and without merit.
That fish was probably a century old.
Sturgeon mature very slowly, and have more unsuccessful spawns than they do successful ones.
I think that it is an unfitting end for a stately old beast that had survived for a century or more, producing millions of eggs but comparitively few progeny.

The photo caption on the Fox News site states the following: ""A man spearfishing on 'Lake Michigan' found -- and subsequently killed -- a gigantic, 100--year-old sturgeon.""

If that is true, it is an illegal catch!
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/02/15/man-finds-kills-year-old-fish/#discussion-form

Not to mention that would be one helluva story in its own right if it were true.

Buy the comments you can sure tell that this was published in a big city newspaper!
Mr. Cranium, just because WI.(Winnebago system) have an abundance of sturgeon (let me get this straight)they are to catch them and bring them to places like Chicago? What, so you can pollute them to death! Kind of how you polluted Door County! Please , If you do not know the FULL story try to keep your flapper shut!

Thanks for the interesting comments...

I stand by what I originally wrote here.

It should also be noted that the WI/DNR has been quietly stocking selected Lake Michigan tributaries with hatchery-raised Lake Sturgeon fingerlings for several years now. (Maybe the idea of re-populating the Great Lakes isn't so far-fetched afterall).

Overall, Lake Sturgeon numbers have been reduced to less than 1% of the original population over their native range. As per usual, pollution, habitat degradation and overfishing are blamed.

Zach and Mr.Eisch your remarks are merely laughable. The system has obviously failed to educate you and it's not my job to correct that. Instead of entering a pissing contest with individuals who apparently will never get it, I will leave you two to wonder what I meant by that. I can already hear the scratching of heads...

Are any of these bottom feeders SAFE to eat? Do any
of them taste good? Sturgeon, Carp (Asian or regular), Bullheads, or Catfish. What about these
bottom feeders: Crayfish, Shrimp, Crab, & Lobster?
Are they full of toxins or safe to eat ?

Why do these men have to kill these majestic creatures? How can they live with themselves after stabbing this animal? What a brutal society we have. It should not be tolerated. That fish did not deserve to die. I morn for it.

Too bad we can't have an annual "Tree-Hugger Spearing Season" nationwide. The world would be a better place.

Hitches are David Miller. This is wonderful blog and wonderful information given here. Excellent site, keep up the good work. That fish was probably a century old. I stand by what I originally wrote here. Why do these men have to kill these majestic creatures? How can they live with themselves after stabbing this animal? What a brutal society we have. The world would be a better place. As per usual, pollution, habitat degradation and overfishing are blamed.
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This is wonderful blog and wonderful information given here. Excellent site, keep up the good work. That fish was probably a century old. I stand by what I originally wrote here.
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Yes bottom feeders are safe to eat or at least I'm still alive. Catfish and carp are wonderful smoked. Sturgeon some would say taste like lobster without all the work. Suckers are beautiful for canning to later make fish cakes with! Well as far as crawfish, shrimp, lobster and crabs? I don't eat them

ISpearing of fish should be banned everywhere. You cannot release fish that have been speared, and so selective harvest is a hard thing to do with this method. I am all for catch and release with trophy fish....get a replica and let someone else have the opportunity to catch that fish. Don't be so selfish!!!

The sturgeon's DNA was far more valuable than the cheesedick who stuck a spear in it!

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 16, 2010 8:35 AM.

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