Sturgeon spearing closes on upriver lakes; longest fish speared on Winnebago since 1970s
WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WLUK) -- The sturgeon spearing season on lakes Poygan, Winneconne and Butte des Morts is over after four days.
With 11 adult females speared on those three lakes Tuesday, spearers hit the 100 percent harvest cap, which triggers an immediate closure of the season.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sturgeon biologist Ryan Koenigs says the decision on closing the season "came down to the wire." If between two and ten adult females had been speared, the season would have extended another day on the upriver lakes.
"At 1:50 (p.m.), we were still sitting on 10 adult females, but the 11th adult female was registered at Critter’s at 1:55 resulting in a complete season closure," Koenigs said in a news release.
The final number of sturgeon speared on the upriver lakes was 297, two more than in the 2017 season.
Meanwhile, Tuesday's take of 42 sturgeon on Lake Winnebago included one of the longest sturgeon in the history of the spearing season. Kyle Jenkins speared an 84.5-inch, 143.7-pound adult female. Koenigs said Tuesday it was the longest sturgeon on record, with detailed records going back to the 1970s, but on Wednesday he said he found a record of an 85-inch sturgeon speared in 1957.
Jenkins' fish was about 70 pounds lighter than the heaviest sturgeon speared on the lake, a 212.2-pound fish taken in 2010. That sturgeon measured 84.2 inches.
Koenigs says since records are kept by weight, the 212.2-pound sturgeon is considered the spearing record.
Jenkins registered his sturgeon at Jerry's Bar in Oshkosh.
In all, 229 sturgeon have been speared on Lake Winnebago this year. The season on Lake Winnebago ends Feb. 25 unless harvest caps are met sooner.
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