Sturgeon Report 2-21-16

Here’s today’s Sturgeon Report presented by Air Tech Heating

This from Ryan Koenigs of the Wisconsin DNR

Fellow Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:
The harvest from day 9 was very similar to that of day 8, with 28 fish being harvested today (32 yesterday) and the stations on the east shore of Lake Winnebago being the busiest.  There was one fish larger than 100 pounds harvested today, and that fish was Robert Klassa’s 73.0”, 105.9 pound female that he registered at Jerry’s Bar.   A more detailed breakdown of today’s harvest is attached below along with a photo of Robert and his fish on the ice.  We plan to close a few of our registration stations starting tomorrow, but we will be keeping Payne’s Point, Wendt’s, Calumet Harbor (Pipe) and Stockbridge Harbor open for registration.     
I frequently say that the sport of sturgeon spearing is so much more than just harvesting a fish.  If you simply look at the success rates, 12% of license holders getting a fish in a given season, you would think why do people do this?  I’ve even heard people jokingly say that sturgeon spearing is like duck hunting out a chimney.  Those involved with the sport understand that it’s the social aspects, traditions, and camaraderie of the sport that keep people coming back year after year.  This season may be slower than the last couple in terms of fish harvested from Lake Winnebago, but it still has been a successful season for many spearers; if for no other reason than another opportunity to renew those traditions and group camaraderie.  Further, the are a number of spearers who have found success with harvesting fish during this season. For example, there was a group of spearers from the Chilton area that did very well yesterday.  Gary, Ryan, and Scott Bancroft all harvested fish yesterday, while another group member, Ralph Satzer, also harvested a fish.  Gary started off the day with a 55.5”, 40.0 pound fish that he speared around 9:00 AM.  Ryan then got in on the action around 11:00 AM with his 57.5”, 36.5 pounder.  This was the first sturgeon that Ryan has ever speared and after talking to him on the phone today it’s clear that he now has the “sturgeon fever”.  Just an hour later, Ryan’s dad Scott speared a 51.7”, 28.3 pound fish out of the same hole.  Gary and Scott are brothers, so this truly was a day to celebrate for the Bancroft family and a story that will be told countless times during future seasons.  The group wasn’t done for the day though, as another group member, Ralph Satzer, speared a 63.0”, 58.4 pound fish not too far away.  Ralph’s fish came through about 15 minutes before the closure.   I have included a photo of the 4 men with their harvest from yesterday, looks like a pretty happy group of guys! (
I’d like to pass on another story of another memory being made with family during the 2016 season.  You’d be hard pressed to find a group that takes sturgeon spearing more seriously than the Muche family.  I’ve got to know a few of the family members over the last few years and I can honestly say that their passion for sturgeon is contagious.  I received the following email from Rachael Mathwig (Muche maiden name) about her experience this year.  Her passion for family and sturgeon spearing come through in the message so I won’t elaborate too much. 
“Before the season started I asked my grandfather to sit with me (he has a Winnebago tag). I sat with my grandfather and little cousin Eli on Saturday and my Grandpa on Sunday we didn’t see anything but it was definitely a memory in the making. Right away Monday morning my dad cut us a new hole. It was about 10:15 and the story gets better! My dad and grandpa both saw the sturgeon coming in before I did, “Here one comes Rach!” It was right under my feet and about to cut the corner.  I grabbed the spear after debating with the both of them on what to do and the rest of the story is history!  If it wasn’t for the two of them I would’ve never seen it! 61.4# 59.3″ M2. Another Sturgeon spearing season and more memories made! I love this sport and I hope someday my children get to enjoy this family tradition sport as well!” 
I’m always interested in hearing sturgeon spearing stories.  In my position I still purchase a license every year, even though I don’t have the opportunity to spear as much as I used to.  So hearing stories of group and family fun related to sturgeon spearing allows me to live vicariously through the spearers.  So keep them coming!  Good luck if you are able to get out on the lake during the last week of the 2016 sturgeon spearing season!