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Fish On!

Sturgeon on TV!!

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188 pound lake sturgeon speared on Winnebago, Wis. Winnebago spear record, but missed the state spear record by about 7 pounds. Look for a three hour season next year.

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Just curious, how do sturgeon taste?... kinda like Bald Eagle? lol, serious though are the guys after the eggs or the meat? just curious.

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I saw the report on TV9 also. They will probably have it at 9 tonite. The JSonline site has a picture as did the news. The fish is taller by 12-24 inches than the guy standing next to it. Monster. I caught a 45 inch fish last year so I can't imagine this monster coming up through the hole. WOW!


Sturgeon season short and sweet
By BOB RIEPENHOFF
[email protected]
Posted: Feb. 14, 2004
Van Dyne - It's going to be a short, two-day Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season, but for David Piechowski, of Redgranite, it was oh so sweet.

Piechowski speared a record-breaking 188-pound sturgeon Saturday, the opening day of the Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season.

That wasn't the only record broken.

Spearers registered a total of 1,303 sturgeon, including so many adult female sturgeon that the Department of Natural Resources will close the season at 12:30 p.m. today.

"This is an opening day record," said Ron Bruch, sturgeon biologist with the DNR at Oshkosh. The previous opening day record was 977 sturgeon set in 2000, Bruch said.

Piechowski speared his monster sturgeon at about 9:15 a.m. Saturday on the southwest side of the lake.

"My heart's pounding yet," he said at about midday. "I'm still pretty excited."

The fish surpasses the previous Lake Winnebago record set back in 1953 by the late Elroy Schroeder, of Appleton, who speared a 180-pound sturgeon.

Schroeder's sturgeon was 73 years old, according to Bruch, DNR technicians took a fin sample from Piechowski's sturgeon and should know its age some time next week.

Piechowski was spearing off Wendt's tavern and restaurant in Van Dyne.

"She was right on the bottom, going slow," he said. "I knew it was a big fish, but I didn't think it was this big."

As the fish turned, Piechowski threw his spear.

"I stuck her good, right behind the head," said Piechowski, 47, who works as a jailer with the Waushara County Sheriff's Department. "I got three tines in her."

The big fish battled for about 15 minutes before Piechowski and his brother, Jim, of Oshkosh, could get things under control.

"We got her up to the hole and he (Jim) gaffed it," he said. "Then we got the fish out of the hole and onto the ice. It took all of our muscle to get it out of the hole. I was pretty calm until we got it on the ice."

Piechowski's sturgeon was witnessed and weighed on a certified scale at the Van Dyne Feed Mill, he said.

"I'm probably going to get it mounted," he said.

This is Piechowski's sixth sturgeon. Before this, his biggest was a 67-pounder that he speared "three or four years ago," he recalled.

Piechowski was part of a huge crowd that registered their sturgeon at Wendt's.

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Riverrat Pete.

I think they can smoke them? But this fish was estimated to be 73 years old. The fish is being mounted but the angler had better have a big wall--and some support behind it. smile.gif

If he pays by the inch, this would be a pricy mount--but worth it. I would imagine as the spear marks and some of the damage caused in the fight and later posing should take the taxidermist some signifant repair time.

Somewhere last fall I read how just over the border in Canada you could sell the fish for $400 US for the eggs, but that practice had stopped or was going to stop.

The Lake of the Woods guys are the experts on these fish. Maybe one of them can weigh in.

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Yeah, I know a guy well who catches them while walleye fishing on Rainy River, and some guys there target them. They also tried to restock them in the Red River watershed along the N.D./Minn. border.

Never caught one myself, but wouldn' t mind knowing some answers myself.

------------------
"Worry less, fish more."
Steve Foss
[email protected]

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I have fished the Rainey a bunch of times and caught some sturgeon that run 3 to 4 feet. My brother landed one that was 60" a couple of years ago. That was a 45 minute battle. They are not the most handsome fish to have mounted.

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Was watching Fox9 News this morning and they said they had a story coming up about this huge fish. I had to leave for work so I didn't catch the story. Anybody else see it?

Previews showed a Sturgeon, looked like a good 6' long laying on the ice with a DNR guy talking about it. I don't know if someone caught it fishing or what happened, but WOW, was that a big fish.

Hopefully they play the story again tonight!!

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Honestly I haven't the faintest idea what these guys do with the sturgeons, whether eat them plain, smoked, or what? In WI. sturgeon are quite common in the waters of the Winnebago system as well as the Great lakes. I don't target sturgeon, but have caught several while fishing salmon on the Mennominee River in Marinette as well as sucker fishing the Embarrass River in Clintonville Wi.. The Embarrass hosts a large migration of spawning sturgeon as does the Wolf River and a few others. In the spring, large masses of sturgeon run upstream from lake Winnebago to spawn. The DNR is in "high alert" at this time. Anyone caught poaching these fish can expect to face severe penaltys and fines. Areas by the Keshena/Menominee Indian Reservation attract many tourists who view the sturgeon in a frenzied mateing ritual, quite the site to see! I personally have seen sturgeon well over 10-12' in length. Not in WI., but in a hatchery holding pond on the Columbia River. I believe it was at the Dalles hatchery on the border of Washington and Oregon. Quite the majestic and fascinating fish to say the least! Swimming? Not in those waters!! shocked.gif

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http://groups.msn.com/canitbeluck

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Does anyone have a link to a picture of this fish? I want to take a peek at it. I check JSonline but couldn't find a picture in there. THanks

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Wow! I guess it's kinda like hurling a spear into the back of your Grandpa's/Grandma's neck. I don't see a lot of reasoning behind killing these fish either, but the Wis. Game and Fish people must have some reason. I'd personally be really worried about the level of toxins in a fish this old.

It would be a blast to just fish for these with hook and line! I've heard stories of sturgeon this big up on the Rainy, and even seen pictures of fish just over a hundred pounds up there. I sure wouldn't eat one though, smoked or otherwise. Pretty incredible fish never-the-less.

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Whoa Bubba, that's a big fish!!

I have a great respect for these fish having caught just one. The lifespan. I don't think I could keep one via spear or hook. I would love to fish for them catch and release. I am sure glad we don't have spear season in Minnesota but I guess I have to respect other states having a season, I just will not participate.

It just takes them so long to be able to reach maturity to spawn and then they may not spawn each year. Fascinating fish

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Harvested, not killed. Other words that get used a lot. CPR, meat hunters, lake raper, QDM, slaughtering fish, C and R, selective harvest, sportsman, unsportsman like, ethical, morals, dead pigs laying in a boat, Indians, shameful, disgusting, greedy, selfish, netting, locals, non-residents, replicas, etc., etc., etc.. Hows about a zero bag limit? Hows about throwing out fishing all together, hunting too? I've been called a good chunk of those names because I keep some legal fish. CONGRATULATIONS on sticking that big fat pig with a spear! Heck of a job! I'll bet that beast put up a whale of a fight! grin.gif Hey! What about MN's pike spearing? About sturgeon, maybe they should spear the small ones, or the medium ones, or maybe none at all? Maybe we should all throw out all of our fishing and hunting gear and join the ranks of P.E.T.A., believe me, it's almost within fingers reach for many. IMO. A once in a life time achievement which only a few will ever experience.....Only to be turned into a "monster!" Man, when I hear of someone haveing success I congratulate them, not humiliate them. This attitude seems to be a growing trend. Ahhhh, I feel better now! Anyone catching any fish? Shhhh, e-mail me, I dont want you to be made into a "monster".

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http://groups.msn.com/canitbeluck

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"Spearers registered a total of 1,303 sturgeon, including so many adult female sturgeon that the Department of Natural Resources will close the season at 12:30 p.m. today.

"This is an opening day record," said Ron Bruch, sturgeon biologist with the DNR at Oshkosh. The previous opening day record was 977 sturgeon set in 2000, Bruch said."

Either way it sounds like they 'harvested' or 'killed' whichever word you prefer, a few too many sturgeon this year. I have no idea what the status of that sturgeon fishery is over there, but it doesn't seem like it could support a harvest like this every year. The harvest of this fish needs to be managed very carefully, these fish don't spawn until they are 15-20 years old and even then they only spawn every other year. Just some food for thought... it'll take a long time to recover if it's mismanaged. I'm not saying to not allow any harvest of them, but it'll be hard to harvest them if they are all gone too.

[This message has been edited by Beckman (edited 02-17-2004).]

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can it be luck?
FishingMN Pro Staff
Posts: 1026
Registered: Apr 2003
posted 02-17-2004 10:37 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The 2004 lake sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago opens this Saturday, Feb. 14. Spearers must have purchased their spearing tags by last Oct. 31 to participate in this season. Those who did purchase tags will enjoy a higher harvest cap for sturgeon this year, because the number of sturgeon speared in both 2002 and 2003 remained below levels set to protect populations of this ancient, slowing-maturing fish.
The 2004 season represents the 73rd consecutive spearing season on Lake Winnebago. The Winnebago System supports North America’s largest self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon and boasts the world’s oldest program to manage their population; DNR’s sturgeon management program celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2003.

The harvest is limited to 5 percent of the adult lake sturgeon population because overharvest can crash a population and rebuilding can take generations because female lake sturgeon don’t start spawning until they are 20 to 25 years, and then spawn only every three to five years. When spearers reach 80 percent of any of those harvest caps, the season closes at the end of spearing hours the next day. If none of those triggers are reached, the season closes after 16 days.

OSHKOSH, Wis. (7/5/01) -- More than 375 leading scientists from 23 countries will converge on this small Wisconsin town next week to share the latest research on the world's sturgeon populations and see firsthand why the numbers of Lake Winnebago's sturgeon have quadrupled in the last 40 years while populations of this ancient fish have collapsed in many other countries.

The 4th International Symposium on Sturgeon runs July 8-13 at the Park Plaza International Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Oshkosh. The symposium will feature scientific presentations and workshops and presentations on law enforcement and public involvement. Participants will visit a site on Wolf River where state fisheries biologists will use electrofishing boats to bring lake sturgeon to the water's surface to be netted, tagged and measured; the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Great Lakes WATER Institute, a laboratory that studies sturgeon; and the Menominee Indian Reservation, where symposium participants will learn about the Menominee's' cooperative effort with state and federal government to restore lake sturgeon to their tribal waters.

"This symposium provides a forum for leading sturgeon scientists, natural resource managers and aquaculturists to come together to share information and learn from one another and from the successful management program we have here," says Ronald Bruch, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sturgeon biologist and member of the symposium steering committee. Fred Binkowski, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant aquaculture specialist and another member of the steering committee, said that the symposium will help set the future course of research and management worldwide for a species that "desperately needs help in many parts of the world and in our own country."

Twenty-five different species of sturgeon cruise the waters of the northern hemisphere, relics from 100 to 200 million years ago that have survived since the time dinosaurs roamed the earth, Bruch says. Now, many of these sturgeon species teeter on the brink of collapse in the Caspian Sea, in Europe, and in some parts of the United States. Poaching, dam-building, pollution and habitat loss have all taken their toll, Bruch said, with poaching becoming rampant in some parts of the world. "Sturgeon are very good at surviving," Bruch said. "They can survive drought, climate changes, food shortages. One thing they cannot survive, though, is overharvest. They're very sensitive to too many of them being taken out of the population."

Demand is greatest for female sturgeon, which produce the eggs from which caviar is made. However, females are slow to mature sexually. Lake sturgeon, for instance, do not spawn until they are 20 to 25 years old and then only every three or five years, although some other sturgeon species mature sexually at an earlier age.

In the Caspian Sea, which supplies 90 percent of the world's best caviar, poaching has flourished since the Soviet Union broke up in the early 1990s, and sturgeon stocks have plummeted. The United Nations agency that oversees trade in endangered species last week rejected a ban on Caspian Sea caviar proposed by a scientific advisory body but gave the countries bordering the Caspian until the end of the year to reach an agreement on better managing sturgeon resources and to conduct a survey of caviar stocks.

A special symposium workshop will be dedicated to law enforcement and trade issues in different states, provinces and countries and to the treaty that governs trade in sturgeon and other internationally endangered resources. Sponsors of the 4th International Symposium on Sturgeon include Sturgeon for Tomorrow, the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Great Lakes WATER Institute, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, the Menominee Indian Nation, the University of California-Davis, and RL&L Environmental Services, Ltd.

Binkowski, also a senior scientist with the WATER Institute, thinks that symposium participants will be receptive to the management model they'll see at work in Wisconsin.

"I think that the majority of them will be going back to their respective countries with a clear understanding and a better appreciation for preserving the wild resource and not necessarily putting the emphasis on commercializing it," says Binkowski, who has conducted sturgeon research at the WATER Institute for the past 20 years. Historically, lake sturgeon were found in most of the major rivers systems in Wisconsin and all of the state's boundary waters, which would include Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Green Bay, and the Mississippi River, Binkowski says.

But lake sturgeon populations were decimated in the late 1800s by commercial fishermen who regarded the gigantic fish as a nuisance because they tore the nets used to catch more commercially valuable fish. Fishermen then realized lake sturgeon had many uses-for caviar, meat, leather, oil, glue, and a gelatin that could be used for making jams and jellies and for clarifying alcoholic beverages-and fished them until their populations plummeted. In 1903, Wisconsin began developing regulations to better protect the population. In 1915, it closed the harvest season and then banned the commercial sale of sturgeon caviar and flesh.

For the past 70 years, Wisconsin has allowed a limited recreational spearing season on Lake Winnebago and a brief hook-and-line season for lake sturgeon populations on the Lower Wisconsin River and on other waters supporting a self-sustaining population.

"The key to the success story of having the largest and healthiest lake sturgeon population in the world in Wisconsin has to do with two main issues," Binkowski said. "Good biological management and good, strong law enforcement regulation. "

# # # # # # # # # # # # # #
Created in 1966, Sea Grant is a national network of 29 university-based programs of research, outreach, and education dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of the United States' coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes resources. The National Sea Grant Network is a partnership of participating coastal states, private industry, and the National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

John Karl
Science Writer

University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
1975 Willow Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1103

Phone: (608) 263-8621
FAX: (608) 262-0591

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http://groups.msn.com/canitbeluck

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Thanks for posting that information, it's a very interesting fish if you ask me. I knew it was managed very closely over there, but was unsure about the details.

Does anybody know what the harvest cap was set at for this year?

If they went over I'm assuming next year it will be set considerably lower?

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Not sure of the harvest cap, but I do know that sturgeon are VERY HIGHLY regulated. I think the minimum fines start at around $3000! When spring fishing takes place on the rivers and streams that run into Winnebago, the DNR are seen in planes, on shore, everywhere. Rightfully so, Sturgeon are a very fragile and prehistoric resource. IMO, when something is that highly regulated, people tend to break laws whether they keep fish or not. I think it's a greedy, selfish, characteristic trait of all poachers.

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http://groups.msn.com/canitbeluck

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Can it? Do they allow open water fishing for these big girls with hook and line? I'm just curious. It would be a blast to fish just for these bruins if there is a method to catching them.

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I am of the opinion that everyone has the right to do what they choose. If you are a fisherman that strongly believes in CPR great. However I feel that it is the person who catches the fish right to do what they choose. If they decide to keep a 10 eye and fry it is their business. Obviously this lake has a large population of sturgeon thus the spearing season. You need the remember that the DNR will regulate so that the lake isn't totally depleted. As far as throwing a spear at your grandparent comment get real you must be a member of PETA. Comparing an animal to a human being. You are probably one of the types that shoots a deer and wonder if you can then have a replica of the head made. Or you are one of those who shoots an animal and then cries. It is annoying to listen to someone criticize another for what they choose to harvest. In spearing you have a split second to make a decision it isn't like angling where you can catch it and take time to deiced whether to keep it or release. Don't get me wrong I am all for CPR of large trophy fish but it is a personal decision and should not be criticized.

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Grip it and Rip it

IFFWalleyes
I Fish For Walleyes
[email protected]

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On the Winnebago chain there is no open water fishing for sturgeon.

My father-in-law to be has spear sturgeon for the past 20 years, and has only speared 2 in that time. It's an awesome tradition for him and many others in the area that for what little some people think it's worth...is a good thing. The fishery is in excellent condition as can be seen in many locations along the Fox and Wolf rivers. The season has shrunk from I think all winter to it's current state and I also beleive you could spear all day.

Yes they do eat the stugeon, and it can taste great, all the way to pretty poor. Depends on where and how old the fish is. Kind of like most fish!

I plan to get register for a tag next year!!

[This message has been edited by Hammer em' (edited 02-18-2004).]

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