Sturgeon spawn bringing out big fish in northeastern Wisconsin

SHIOCTON, Wis. — A spring tradition is underway in northeastern Wisconsin as the sturgeon spawning has started on parts of the Wolf River.

The giant prehistoric fish spend most of their time in the Lake Winnebago System, but during the run, they’re easy to spot at locations on the Wolf and Embarrass rivers, WLUK-TV reported.

Ryan Koenigs, a sturgeon biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said the sturgeon usually start to spawn in warmer weather as the water temperature increases. He said crews netted and tagged about 200 fish Monday, including one as large as 78 inches in Shiocton.

“They’re huge,” said Donna Hoelzel, a Neenah resident. “To me, they’re huge. But it’s amazing that they get such a variety of lengths. They don’t know what they’re getting, but whatever they come up with, it’s beautiful.”

Hundreds of people lined the shoreline at Bamboo Bend in Shiocton on Monday. Matt Reinke said it was exciting to take his 7-year-old son, Mason, to see the fish.

“I wanted to see the sturgeon,” Mason Reinke said. “They are like big sharks in the sea.”

Koenigs said sturgeon are also spawning on the Wolf River near New London.

“These are the good old days, I would say,” Koenigs said. “We’ve got more fish now than we’ve had probably in 50 years or longer. And within the population, we’ve also got more big fish than we’ve had in probably even longer than that.”

The spawning is expected to continue at Bamboo Bend for another couple days, and experts said it could move to the Shawano Dam by Thursday or Friday.

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