Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Last Chance for Spearers

With below normal temperatures and above normal water clarity for the length of the 2014 Lake Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Season, there is really no surprise that it will be coming to an early end.  Spearers on Wednesday speared a total of 118 Sturgeon, with 5 of these fish exceeding 100 pounds!

There were 16 Junvenile Females, 55 Adult Females, and 47 Males taken.  With these totals, the 90% trigger for Adult Females has been exceeded, which means spearers will have one last chance tomorrow to spear a Sturgeon this year as the season will close at 1:00pm tomorrow.

The south end of the lake still yielded the most fish today, but Quinney and Stockbridge also yielded strong numbers of fish today.  With the season slated to end tomorrow, 2014 will go down as the third shortest season since the 6 hour season change went into effect in 2002. 

Although there have been 99 fish speared weighing over 100 pounds, there haven't been any true monsters exceeding 170 pounds registered this year.  Even though there haven't been any this large taken, the DNR is confident that there are a fair amount of these true dinosaurs still roaming the waters of Lake Winnebago!

Look for a detailed summary of the 2014 Sturgeon Spearing in the near future as the season wraps up.  Thanks for visiting my site, I hope to grow the site in the next year by compiling lots of useful spearing information as well as get interviews with lucky spearers, pictures, videos, and much more!  If you are interested, I also have a fishing blog that is dedicated to Northeast Wisconsin fishing, Walleye Tournament News, and many other topics of local interest.  You can view my fishing blog at

Monday, February 10, 2014

Spearing Season Closes on Upriver Lakes

With the 90% harvest cap trigger exceeded on Sunday February 9, spearers were given one last shot at taking a Sturgeon on the Upriver Lakes today.  21 spearers were able to connect with a Sturgeon, bringing the final tally of 40 Juvenile Females, 87 Adult Females, and 214 Males Speared.  The Adult Female cap of 83 was exceeded by 4 fish, which means the system-wide harvest cap will determine when the season will close.

Lake Winnebago experienced another successful day of spearing, as 198 Sturgeon were registered throughout the lake.  The south end continues to see the most action, as Wendt's and Pipe again had the highest numbers of fish registered.  At the current rate we are seeing fish speared, it is estimated that the season will be closed prior to the weekend, so if you are hoping to get another shot at it this weekend, you may want to make an effort to get back on the ice during the week!

Great to see Women Spearers enjoying the sport

For more up to date information regarding Sturgeon Spearing information be sure to check back here daily as well as the DNR's website which has lots of great information!  DNR Sturgeon Spearing Site

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Opening Weekend Sturgeon Spearing 2014

Day 2 of the Sturgeon Spearing Season was once again a very successful one for many spearers, as 321 Sturgeon were taken on Lake Winnebago and 77 on the Upriver Lakes.  The south end of Lake Winnebago was once again the most productive area, with the majority of the fish being registered at Wendts on the Lake and Pipe.  The largest Sturgeon speared today was taken by David Feldner and his Sturgeon weighed in at 148 pounds!


David Feldner's 148 Pound Sturgeon

My good friend Chris Kons accompanied his uncle on Lake Poygan this morning and pointed out this nice 51", 35 pound male Sturgeon as it crossed the white boards on the bottom.  After seeing a Northern, a Muskie, several Walleyes, White Bass, and Shad, a Sturgeon finally made it's way across their hole.  



Without hesitation the spear was launched, which actually pinned the fish to the bottom briefly, before it attempted to swim off.  This fish made all of the preparations worth it, as the axle on the original shack they had planned to use broke en route to the Lake.  Luckily, Chris had just purchased another shack, which the two ended up using together to spear this Sturgeon.















With the harvest totals on the Upriver Lakes exceeding the 90% target for Adult Females, spearers will have one final day on Monday to get their Sturgeon before the season closes.  Spearers on Lake Winnebago will likely have a few more days for a chance at getting a Sturgeon as the Adult Female harvest cap is at 62% after opening weekend.  See the charts below for spearing totals as of the end of the day on Sunday February 9.



2014 Lake Winnebago - By the numbers as of February 9

Daily harvest Season harvest Harvest cap
Juvenile females 38 112 (35%) 320
Adult females 146 460 (62%) 745
Males 137 385 (40%) 960
Totals 321 957 -

2014 Upriver Lakes - By the numbers as of February 9

Daily harvest Season harvest Harvest cap
Juvenile females 9 39 (49%) 80
Adult females 25 82 (99%) 83
Males 43 198 (83%) 240
Totals 77 319 -

Opening Day Sturgeon Spearing a Huge Success

All the hype leading up to the 2014 Sturgeon Spearing Season lived up to the high expectations as over 600 Sturgeon were registered on Lake Winnebago alone!  The Upriver Lakes spearers also had better than average success, spearing a total of 242 Sturgeon during the opener.

Amanda Scheafer with her first Sturgeon! 67"/78lbs
The hot spot on Lake Winnebago this season was the south end of the lake from Fond du lac to just south of Oshkosh.  Spearers took advantage of the clearest water in several years, which allowed for great visibility for spearers as well as the Sturgeon.  Sturgeon are curious fish which have shown a tendency over the years to inspect foreign objects that are placed in the water by spearers.  These decoys attract the curious Sturgeon to awaiting spearers.

Brandon Engel Speared this 72" 134 pounder on the north end of the lake!

The busiest registration station on Lake Winnebago by far was Wendts.  There was reportedly almost a three hour wait in line at the end of the day to register Sturgeon here!  With so many fish being registered, Wendts made for a great place to take the kids and check out the fish and festivities that make Sturgeon Spearing such a great family sport in our area.

The final tallies from opening day are as follows.

2014 Lake Winnebago - By the numbers as of February 8

Daily harvest
Season harvest
Harvest cap
Juvenile females
74 (23%)
Adult females
314 (42%)
248 (26%)
2014 Upriver Lakes - By the numbers as of February 8

Daily harvest
Season harvest
Harvest cap
Juvenile females
30 (38%)
Adult females
57 (69%)
155 (65%)
The season will come to an end at the end of the day when either 100% of any one of the cap limits are met, or at the end of the next day if 90% or more of any of the cap limits are met.  With so many fish being taken on opening day, this season will most likely be a short one!  Mark Schram of My Fishing has also done a great job covering Sturgeon Spearing with videos, articles, tactics and plenty of other great information pertaining to the sport.  Here is a video on opening day 2014, enjoy!

Over the past few years the local new stations have really done a nice job covering Sturgeon Spearing, which is contributing to the popularity of the sport.  There is something special about the entire Sturgeon Spearing process from the scouting for worms and clear water, to the cutting in of the shacks, to hanging your lucky decoy, to throwing that spear at a prehistoric fish, and finally to celebrate with family and friends after a successful season.  For those of you considering spearing in the future, I strongly encourage you to give it a shot and decide for yourself if Sturgeon Spearing is a sport for you! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lake Winnebago Sturgeon Spearing Season Nears

What a difference a year makes, as this year is the polar opposite of last year!  Last year anglers were hampered by poor water clarity and unsafe ice conditions due to a warmer than normal winter.  This year, the lake has around 24" of solid, clear ice which has made for safe travel, with the exception of the snow drifts in certain areas which have slowed people down a bit when going of the plowed roadways. 

Fishing clubs around the lake have roads plowed and marked with old Christmas trees, with many of the roads connecting with roads from other portions of the lake.  The fishing clubs also have bridges out near shore for safely crossing the cracks that always form in certain areas.

As for the water clarity this season, its the best we have seen in nearly a decade!  Anglers are reporting being able to see bottom in upwards of 17 feet of water, which should allow anglers to see more Sturgeon this year. 

The main challenge spearers will face this year will undoubtedly be cutting their holes.  With ice thicknesses between 22 and 28 inches spearers may have to put less of an angle on their holes to be able to get their saws all the way through the ice.  Pushing the huge chunks of ice under once cut will also prove to be challenging, as the thicker ice will be more buoyant and take more force to push under the ice.

The main change that the DNR has made for the 2014 season is spearing hours, the spearing hours will now be from 7:00am-1:00pm, with spearers having until 2:00pm to register their fish at any one of the registration stations around the lake.  

Harvest caps for the 2014 season on Lake Winnebago have been set at 320 Juvenile Females, 745 Adult Females, and 960 Males.

The season begins next Saturday February 8 and will go until either any one of the 3 harvest caps is met at the end of a spearing day, or 1 spearing day after 90-99% of one of the harvest caps is achieved.  For more information on Spearing Regulations and general spearing information, follow this link to the DNR Sturgeon Spearing Page.  WI DNR Sturgeon Spearing Regulations