Winnebago system sturgeon spearers put up with some miserable winds and temperatures on the opening weekend of the 2015 season to still rack up some decent numbers. According to Ryan Koenigs, the DNR’s sturgeon specialist out of
Oshkosh, the season on the upriver lakes of Buttes des Morts, Poygan and Winneconne could end early this week. The season on Winnebago may extend to the second weekend, he said.
The winds died down on Sunday, Feb. 15, the second of the season. That meant less blowing snow, which improved visibility for sportsmen traveling around the lakes.
According to the daily spearing updates emailed out by Koenigs, spearers registered 467 fish on opening day on Lake Winnebago. He said that number is the fifth highest since the season moved to the shortened six-hour spearing day in 2002.
“The average opening day harvest over this 14-year period has been 374 fish, so (this) number actually eclipses that by more than 100 fish. In comparison, today’s harvest of 126 sturgeon on the upriver lakes was the second lowest opening day harvest since the current lottery structure was implemented in 2007,” said Koenigs.
“Harvest numbers on day two remained strong with 403 fish being harvested from Lake Winnebago and 85 fish harvested from the upriver lakes. We are roughly half way to the adult female harvest cap for Lake Winnebago and have reached 72 percent of the adult female harvest cap on the upriver lakes.
“Given these numbers I am anticipating the upriver lakes season to last another two to three days (through Tuesday or Wednesday), while the season on Lake Winnebago is a little harder to predict. It could end as early as Thursday or as late as Sunday,” Koenigs said.
The largest fish on Sunday weighted 129.3 pounds and measured 78.2 inches. It was speared by Tom Reise, of Oshkosh.
The largest fish on Saturday, Feb. 14 was a 127.3-pounder measuring 76.4 inches. It was speared by Gregory Harma.
A total of 13 fish heavier than 100 pounds were speared from Lake Winnebago on the first day of the season.