By Cassandra Duvall. CREATED Feb 1, 2013
LAKE WINNEBAGO, WI – We’re just about one week away from opening day to Sturgeon Spearing Season. This year anglers are hoping for better ice conditions and water clarity to help them nab one of the giant fish.
Last year many around Lake Winnebago had a hard time spearing a sturgeon, mainly due to thin ice. The area was limited to mostly 4-wheelers.
Tyler Monroe, a member of the Otter Street Fishing Club said he’s hoping for solid ice.
“Ice conditions are pretty shaky right now, especially on this shore here,” he said.
He usually fishes with his dad and a few friends.
But there could be something else that hinders fishermen this year.
“Water clarity is not ideal, which, isn't surprising given the weather we've been having lately,” said Ryan Koenigs, a DNR Sturgeon Biologist.
Again, that might limit the spearing.
“And I always say you can't spear a fish you can't see,” said Koenigs.
He believes conditions will likely be better on the upper lakes, but there's no guarantee.
“No ice is ever completely safe for travel,” he said. “That's the responsibility of a fisherman, or a spearer.”
While many, like Monroe, are concerned about conditions, they're still looking forward to the excitement of it all.
“Once you do see something, even a tail flash, you get your heart pumping and there's nothing like it,” he said.
Opening day is next Saturday, February 9, beginning at 6:30 a.m. The season runs until Feb. 24, or until the limit of sturgeon harvested is hit. Koenigs says they are expecting the full 16-day season on Lake Winnebago, but on the upper lakes, he says they will likely hit their sturgeon cap before closing day.