Sturgeon spearing season begins - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Sturgeon spearing season begins

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LAKE WINNEBAGO -

The highly-anticipated sturgeon spearing season is here.  Starting at 6:00 am, anglers braved foggy conditions on Lake Winnebago for a chance to land a lunker.

For many sturgeon spearers, opening day started with low visibility in the air and below Lake Winnebago's ice adding more of a challenge to spearing.

"We got our pipes laying across the bottom, but you can't even see them, so it really doesn't make a difference," Dylan Brockman of Menasha said.

According to the DNR, a total of 39 sturgeon were harvested at Lake Winnebago.

But, in shallow waters like in the upriver lakes, spearers had better luck.

The DNR says that's where more than 140 fish were registered.

George Schroeder, one of those who actually harvested a sturgeon there, says the water, there, was clearer too.

"There's only like six feet of water and you could see bottom real good because there's only six, seven feet of water," he said.

At a news conference shortly before spearing closed for the day, Lake Winnebago DNR expert Ryan Koenigs said the ice conditions and reduced visibility in the lake did impact the amount of sturgeon being registered this year.

"The harvest this morning and the numbers that are coming in are down from what we could have if we did have better conditions," he said.

 And, with the conditions having an impact on this year's harvest, DNR officials anticipate sturgeon spearing to go the full 16 days.

"Water clarity conditions we have now, it suggests a long season. And, that's what we're seeing on Lake Winnebago," Koenigs said.

However, Koenigs says it's still possible for those conditions to get better in the next several days.

"If the weather stays at or below freezing and we're able to keep a good snow cover on the lake, I expect that water clarity will increase as the season goes on," he said.

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