Dear Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:
The 2020 sturgeon spearing season will commence in less than 24 hours and some spearers are likely already on the ice cutting holes and setting up their shanties. I’d like to first wish everyone a safe and enjoyable spearing season! Hopefully these cooler nights will firm up ice conditions and strengthen the ice sheet throughout the Winnebago System.
Second, our conservation wardens and myself would like to remind people to review the sturgeon spearing regulation pamphlet (link below) prior to heading out on the ice this season.
We are particularly emphasizing a few items that have caused significant enforcement concerns in recent seasons.
1. SPEARERS MUST POSSESS A PAPER COPY OF THEIR STURGEON SPEARING CARCASS TAG AT ALL TIMES WHILE SPEARING, a receipt of purchase, driver’s license, or Go Wild card does not meet this requirement.
2. It is ILLEGAL to possess more than one copy of a carcass tag.
3. Carcass tags MUST BE validated immediately upon harvest by removing the validation stub.
4. There is mandatory in-person registration of all harvested fish. Fish must be presented at a DNR operated registration station (Page 6 of the regulation pamphlet) by 2 PM of the same day the fish is harvested.
We also would like to remind people to use caution when going out onto the ice this season. The variable ice conditions through the Winnebago System has been pretty well documented. Below are some ice safety tips:
• There can be cracks and changes in the thickness you may not be able to see.
• Carry a cellphone and let people know where you are going and when you will return home.
• Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a life jacket or a float coat to help you stay afloat in case you go through. Life jackets will also help to slow body heat loss.
• Carry a couple of spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself – or others – out of the ice.
• Do not travel in unfamiliar areas – or at night.
• Avoid lake inlets, outlets or any other areas with current as these areas may contain thinner ice.
• Take extra clothes, so you always have a dry backup.
• Common sense is the greatest ally in preventing ice-related accidents.
Good luck during the upcoming spearing season! Let’s all work together to make the 2020 sturgeon spearing season a safe and enjoyable weekend filled with recollection of memories from seasons past and creation of new ones!
We are committed to service excellence.
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Ryan Koenigs
Senior Fisheries Biologist / Winnebago System Sturgeon Biologist
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
625 E County Rd. Y, Suite 700
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Phone: (920)303-5450
Fax: (920)424-4404