Sturgeon spearing continues on Lake Winnebago

Mike Freiberg speared this 61 inch 41 pound sturgeon on Lake Winnebago, February 12, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

FOND DU LAC COUNTY (WLUK) -- As expected, Monday was another slow harvest day on Lake Winnebago, where anglers only speared 48 fish.

Activitiy on the Upriver Lakes was better for the anglers, where 61 sturgeon were speared.

Experts say water clarity on Winnebago continues to be keeping the numbers low.

At Wendt's on the Lake near Van Dyne, Don Butzke registered a 55.7 inch, 30 pound sturgeon Monday morning.

"He just happened to swim through my hole, at about 8:30," said Don Butzke, Campbellsport.

Butzke speared his very first sturgeon in about 11 feet of water. He says water clarity is poor at best.

"Oh, it's looking through a bottle of chocolate milk. You can barely see your "X" down there," said Butzke.

Mike Freiberg says his 61 inch, 41 pounder almost got away.

"Just opened up the shack, chipped out the ice, turned the stove on. Saw one shad swim through, and put my decoy down, had the spear down there, and all of a sudden I see the head come across the "X" and let her fly," said Mike Freiberg, Oakfield.

Freiberg says he was in a new fishing spot as well. He says poor clarity drove the decision to relocate.

"I actually moved yesterday afternoon. I sat on a hole a couple of days. Saw a lot of shad, but no sturgeon," said Freiberg.

It's been a slow start to the season. The opening day harvest of 83 sturgeon on Lake Winnebago was the fourth lowest in the past 17 years. Biologists says clarity is key.

"We talk to anglers, that come in here, the spearers that have come in here, it's varied, anywhere from 6-8 feet," said Dave Bartz, DNR Fisheries Biologist.

Even so, the crew at Wendt's registered more fish than any other Lake Winnebago station.

"I think most of the guys that have come in here, based it on luck, you know, just being in the right place at the right time," said Bartz.

Freiberg agrees.

"Clarity has a lot to do with it in this sport. So, it's luck, it is. It's persistence, and luck," he said.

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