Bitter cold a big plus for sturgeon spearing

Speared sturgeon in back of a pickup truck
Speared sturgeon in back of a pickup truck
Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 8:39 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - You might be complaining about the ice on area roads right now, but on Lake Winnebago it’s a welcome sight, as the timing couldn’t be much better with the sturgeon spearing opener this weekend.

On the shore of Menominee Park in Oshkosh fisherman are busy right now checking out ice conditions that have solidified quite a bit in just a week, thanks to bitter below zero temperatures.

Don Herman of Sunk? Dive and Ice Rescue said, “I mean the sturgeon spearers are just happy as heck, I know they are because we have about sixteen inches now on most of the lake, a lot of snow thou. You get out there, there is some three to four foot drifts out there. It slows you right down. You’re going to need a four wheel drive unless you stay on the ride.”

To prepare for Saturday’s sturgeon spearing opener the Otter Street Fishing Club has begun laying down Christmas trees, marking the path for drivers and adjusting their bridges.

“Right now when we get below zero like this, even with the snow cover on it, we gain about an inch a night in a 24 hour period, inch to inch and a half,” added Herman.

Despite the pandemic, a big crowd is expected out here on the ice this weekend.

The DNR says more 12,000 sturgeon spearing licenses have been sold.

For fishermen, there’s obviously pent up excitement.

This includes Bob Hable.

“The water has been so bad, so dirty. This year it’s clear. I guess I’m anticipating what everybody does, you hope something swims by and you’re able to get that, so,” said Hable of Oshkosh.

The best water clarity this year, we’re told is on the north side of the lake, and with temperatures expected to remain cold, fishermen will have the ability to roam more and spread out.

Herman said, “Just be careful out there, and your life isn’t worth a fish.”

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