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

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