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Sturgeon: 'up and down' opening weekend ... UPDATED: Upriver totals nearing caps

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Posted at 12:19 p.m. on Monday, February 15, 2021

Updated at 9 p.m. on February 15, 2021

The Brillion News


ON THE ICE - Extreme cold temperatures persisted into day three of the 2021 sturgeon spearing season. Overall on day three, namely Monday, February 15, there were 170 fish harvested on the Winnebago System, with 134 harvested on Lake Winnebago and 36 harvested on the Upriver Lakes.

The registration stations on the northern half of Lake Winnebago continue to lead the daily number of fish registered. Through three days of harvest on Lake Winnebago, 104 juvenile females, 280 adult females, and 225 males have been harvested in total. Each of the Lake Winnebago sex-specific harvest caps remains far from being reached. The Upriver Lakes season totals have reached 34 juvenile females, 56 adult females, and 173 males. Monday’s addition of harvested males and adult females to the Upriver Lakes total harvest has resulted in 30 adult females and 43 males remaining to hit the 90% trigger that ends the season.

In total, nine fish over 100 pounds were speared on day three of the 2021 spearing season. Monday’s largest fish on the Winnebago System was an F4 female speared by Thomas Luedtke on Lake Poygan, weighing in at 153.3 pounds (77.0 inches). It was registered at Boom Bay. The largest fish harvested on Lake Winnebago was a 123.8-pound (76.3 inches) F1 female speared by David Schneider and registered at Calumet Harbor.

As an F1 female, David's fish was in the first reproductive stage of a new reproductive cycle. Winnebago System female lake sturgeon will spawn, on average, every 3-5 years. It is estimated that a female lake sturgeon on a 4-year reproductive cycle may remain in the F1 reproductive stage for up to approximately 2½ years.


THE BIG POND - Day Two 2 (which was also St. Valentine's Day) of the 2021 sturgeon spearing season saw a decrease in harvest. In total, 265 fish were harvested on the Winnebago system, with 207 coming from Lake Winnebago and 58 coming from the Upriver Lakes.

The registration stations on the north end of Lake Winnebago had the highest totals again today, with the Harrison Town Hall station (52) leading the way.

The Winneconne (Marble Park) registration station (23) registered the most fish on the Upriver Lakes. The Upriver Lakes harvest has surpassed 50% of the allotted cap for both males and adult females.

However, the Upriver Lakes season will likely continue into mid/late week. Lake Winnebago and system-wide harvest caps remain in the distance and are unlikely to be met during the upcoming week.

The largest fish harvested on Lake Winnebago on Sunday was 121.6 pound (76.1 inches) F4 female speared by Reid Crump. Reid’s fish was registered at Grundman Road.

Steven Loker harvested the largest fish on the Upriver Lakes: a 119-pound 74.1-inch F4 female harvested on Lake Poygan. Females at the F4 reproductive stage are lake sturgeon that would be spawning this coming spring. The clear skies on day two of the season allowed for aerial shack counts to be conducted. Lake Winnebago totaled 4,326 shacks. The east (894) and southeast (872) zones of the lake had the highest number of shacks, while the west (455) zone had the least. The Upriver Lakes shack count survey resulted in 389 total shacks observed. The majority of shacks counted on the Upriver lakes were on Lake Poygan (329).


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