February 10-12, 2017
Photos, a video and information on the 2017 HuntFishTravel Sturgeon Spearing outing you’re invited to, as well as the highlights from 2016.
The quest is for dinosaurs older than my grandparents on Lake Winnebago….the hunt for prehistoric behemoths that prowl the waters less than fifty miles from my home.
These creatures fascinate me. Their history is rife with drama and science fiction; you can read how Wisconsin can justifiably claim them as the state’s most successful conservation effort here:
- Sturgeon Spearing aka Dinosaur Wrangling in Wisconsin
- A History of the Wisconsin Lake Sturgeon
- Sturgeon Camp 2014
- 2013 Sturgeon Spearing Season Kicks Off With a Celebration of This Prehistoric Fish
But for me, they are an elusive prey.
2016 was my fourth year sturgeon spearing and sixth year covering it from a media standpoint. And I was a heartbeat away from buying my own shanty, a glorious 10X10 shack to do with what I wish.
That’s really what I want.
I want my own dark house. But we’ll get to that later in the year.
Sturgeon spearing is an interesting activity. Most people would never think sitting on top of a foot and a half of ice, in a blacked out shanty, patiently staring down into eleven feet of murky water, drinking bloody mary’s as “fun”.
But I love it. I enjoy the peacefulness, the quiet, and camaraderie that surrounds the event.
Many spearers chase sturgeon for decades before they are ever successful. Part of the fun is customizing your shanty, using big chainsaws to cut in, hanging out with other people who would love to get a sturgeon but just love the sturgeon spearing experience as a whole.
Here are some highlights from the 2016 year. The sturgeon was speared by and was “ long.
(Highlights from the 2016 sturgeon spearing season. We cut in and try to spear one of these ancient fish. A neighboring shanty speared one and is featured in the video.)
Please don’t tell me that doesn’t look like a ton of fun!
The weekend kicks off with the Sturgeon Stampede, a day of ice kiting and snowmobiles. It’s capped off with a sacrificial sturgeon (fake of course) bonfire and a night of dancing, having a few drinks and telling lots of tall tales including the Labrador who dove through the hole of one shanty and appeared in another shanty a half mile away.
During the 2016 season, 13,674 licenses were sold. And a total of 703 fish were taken.
The 2016 harvest cap was set at 430 Juvenile females (84 harvested), 950 adult females (249 harvested), 1220 males (370 harvested). While the season is 16 days long, it is not unheard of for them to close the season early when the quotas have been met. But poor water and ice conditions made for a very poor season.
Of the 703 fish taken, 19 were over 100 pounds.
I didn’t get one again this year. But it was ok. Because I met a bunch of really cool new people, had a blast with the Fond du Lac Area Visitors Bureau and refueled my fire for the next year.
And speaking of next year… interested in joining me for the 2017 Sturgeon Spearing season?
Sturgeon Spearing Info:
- WI DNR Info
- Find the 2016 Regulations here.
- You must be 12 years or older to spear sturgeon and the deadline for putting in your application is October 31st.
- Spearing hours are 7:00am – 1:00pm. (You can always go ice fishing afterwards!)
- Minimum length is 36”
- It is helpful to have a truck/SUV to get you to your shanty but it is not imperative, as there’s always someone to hitch a ride with.
- Fond du Lac is 1 hour, 15 minutes north of General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee.
2017 Cost details:
*Note: qualified media may be eligible for complimentary lodging/meals etc. Please contact me for further information.
Hotel: $50-$100/night details on group rates will become available in a few weeks.
Shanty rentals per day:
- $200 per hole per day (Single hole and double hole shanties available. Total weekend Saturday and Sunday shanty rental cost: $800 for double shanty/$400 for a single shanty.)
- generally 1 person per hole, but 2 people per hole if you want to trade off and fight over who gets to spear the sturgeon when it shows up!
- All spearing equipment is provided with the shanty rental, shanty/1 spear hole/decoy/heat.
- Contact Tyler Jackson 920-602-2322 to reserve your shanty (don’t wait – shanty rentals are in high demand!)
- Resident Sturgeon Spearing License: $20.00*
- Non-Resident Sturgeon Spearing License: $65.00*
*These are in addition to the fishing license you must purchase (Non-resident 4 day is $24.00/Resident annual is $20.00 NOT to be confused with sturgeon fishing which is different than spearing).
Drop me a line via the contact form if you’re interested and I can pass along the details!
Photo essay coming later today – subscribe to the blog; enter your email on the right side of this page to be notified.
Photos from 2016: