Sturgeon spearing quickly coming to a close

A 101 lb. sturgeon was one of the fish registered in Winneconne Monday.
A 101 lb. sturgeon was one of the fish registered in Winneconne Monday.

WINNECONNE - The three-day upriver lakes spearing season missed tying the record for shortest season by just one fish Sunday.

One more adult female fish would have triggered the harvest cap, ending the season after just two days.

And while spearing is still on-going on Lake Winnebago, it won't last much longer as sturgeon continued to find their way onto registration tables around Lake Winnebago and the upriver lakes Monday.

"Conditions are great with some strong ice and people feel comfortable going out and you mix in some clear water as well and people are having some good success out there," said Ryan Koenigs, DNR sturgeon biologist.

And that has translated into success for spearers. Don Ziegelbauer of Quinney was relieved when a more than 50 pound sturgeon came by his hole Monday.

"It's been a long dry spell, about 10 years so finally after that long of a time, yeah."

The season here on Lake Winneconne and the other upriver lakes is now over and Koenigs says he thinks it might only be another day or two before the season on Lake Winnebago closes as well.

That might mean no record-breaking individual fish. However, plenty of large fish have been taken, including a 101 pounder registered in Winneconne Monday. And Koenigs says the season could still be historic.

"Coming into today we already have 75 fish harvested that were over 75 pounds so it may be a record breaking year in the number of fish harvested over 100 pounds."

And while the sturgeon Tony Kobriger of Chilton speared Monday isn't his biggest, he said he didn't have the luxury of waiting any longer.

"It was the last day and we were down to the last hour and a half and it was starting to get a little tense in that shanty."

For those still waiting on Lake Winnebago, time is running out. While people like Ziegelbauer are happy to have filled their tags.

"Really lucky because no matter how good the conditions are there are still a lot of people that don't get a fish."