It’s been a slow start to the Wisconsin sturgeon spearing season, but it’s also seen some monsters taken, including the largest fish speared in two years.
Monday, the third day of the 2016 Wisconsin sturgeon spearing season, mirrored opening weekend with a relatively low number of fish harvested. The Wisconsin DNR reported 44 total sturgeon registered on Monday, with 24 fish coming from Lake Winnebago and a total of 20 from the three upriver lakes (Poygan, Butte des Morts and Winneconne).
But while the numbers of fish harvested may be below average, the weight of some of the fish has been impressive. The largest sturgeon taken on Monday is also the largest taken since the 2014 season. The brute was a 147.9-pound, 77-inch female speared by Daniel Bloesl. Bloesl registered the fish at Indian Point Tavern on the west side of Lake Poygan.
Lake Poygan is a 14,024 acre lake upriver from Lake Winnebago, and has a maximum depth of around 11 feet. Water clarity has been an issue in the first days of the sturgeon season, with visibility reported to be from around nine to thirteen feet depending on location in the Winnebago system. Poygan’s shallow depth is surely an advantage when water visibility is down.
Three sturgeon over 100 pounds were registered on Monday, all coming from the upriver lakes. So far, 14 total fish breaking the 100-pound mark have been registered this season, with ten coming from the upriver lakes and four from Lake Winnebago. 393 total fish have been registered thus far in the 16-day season.
Boesl allowed the DNR to harvest the eggs from his sturgeon. The agency categorized Boesl’s catch as an F4 fish, indicating that the big female would have spawned this spring. The amount of eggs taken from the fish was incredible, at 41.52 pounds and an estimated 960,873 eggs. That is some pretty precise estimating when you can put a final number – three eggs – in the final digit spot.
Boesl’s sturgeon beats last year’s season-high record of a 137.5-pound, 81.3-inch sturgeon.
Congratulations to Mr. Boesl. That’s one heckuva fish.
Author: David Smith, Wide Open Spaces