OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — The upcoming sturgeon spearing season in Wisconsin could be frustrating for participants who are expected to encounter murky water in Lake Winnebago and upriver lakes, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
Some fishermen are beginning to scout out the underwater conditions in an effort to prepare for the beginning of sturgeon spearing season on Feb. 13, WLUK-TV (http://bit.ly/1nM2WA7 ) reported.
Craig Larson and Dustin Emerson ventured out onto the ice on Lake Winnebago near Oshkosh on Thursday morning. The ice was at least a foot thick, but "a little rough," and the water clarity was only about six feet, Larson said.
Last week, the clarity throughout Lake Winnebago was four to seven feet, with an average of six feet, according to Ryan Koenigs, a sturgeon biologist with the Department of natural Resources.
A warm, wet December and a late freeze on the lake caused the cloudy conditions, he said.
Koenigs advises fishermen to focus on shallower water, where there might be better visibility.
He also believes a good hatch of the fish Gizzard Shad will help fishermen have success.
"And typically when those hatches occur, it concentrates fish more on the south end, and it's a bit shallower down there, so that might benefit some spearers as well," he said.
Fishermen will have more sturgeon to choose, according to Koenigs. The harvest cap for adult females will be 950, which is about a 15 percent increase over the past two years.
Although the water clarity could mean a longer season, many fishermen won't let the cloudy conditions stop them from starting right as the season begins.
"Well, it's spearing. I got to get out and do it. So, if it's dirty, I'm still going to be out there. It doesn't matter," Larson said.
Emerson agreed, because if you want to spear sturgeon, you can't do it from your couch.
"No matter what the clarity, you got to be out," he said.
Information from: WLUK-TV, http://www.fox11online.com