Warming water temperatures expected to mean short, intense Wolf River sturgeon spawning

Discussion in 'Outdoor News' started by Wisconsin DNR News, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. By Central Office April 17, 2015

    Contact(s): Ryan Koenigs, DNR fisheries biologist, 920-303-5450, [email protected]; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, [email protected]

    Warming water temperatures expected to mean short, intense Wolf River sturgeon spawning

    NEW LONDON, Wis. - Rising water temperatures in key tributaries to Lake Winnebago have touched off the annual sturgeon spawning run on the Wolf River.

    The Lake Winnebago system serves as home to one of the largest lake sturgeon populations in the world and each year, the majestic fish work their way up the connected waterways to lay and fertilize eggs on the rocky river bottom. Lake sturgeon do not typically spawn until reaching age 14 to 29 for males and 21 to 34 for females. The females only spawn every three to five years after that.

    Thanks to careful management, there are now more 100-plus pound fish than have been seen in a generation. A successful spawning season � however short � will help ensure a healthy sturgeon population in the years ahead.

    "Due to the rapidly warming temperatures, we expect this year's spawning run to occur very quickly, possibly ending by Sunday or Monday (April 19 or 20)," said Ryan Koenigs, DNR fisheries biologist and Winnebago sturgeon expert. "While the spawning run will be short, given the healthy sturgeon population, it will be intense with good opportunities for people to view the fish. We are fortunate to again have members of the sturgeon guard on hand to make sure the fish remain protected."

    Koenigs said fish are now spawning at numerous locations with the best viewing opportunities at Sturgeon Trail in New London, Bamboo Bend in Shiocton and the paper mill dam in Shawano. DNR staff members have been able to capture and tag 52 fish at the Sturgeon Trail on County Highway X in New London, seven fish at the Manawa Dam on the Little Wolf River and 12 fish at the Clintonville Dam on the Pigeon River.

    The team implanted 10-year sonic transmitters into all seven fish captured below the Manawa Dam and a number of the fish captured on the Pigeon River. This marks the first time that DNR staff have tagged fish spawning on the Pigeon River, which is only 3 miles upstream from the confluence with the Embarrass River.

    To learn more, visit DNR.wi.gov and search "lake sturgeon spawning." If you are traveling to the area to see the sturgeon and want to know where the current action is, call DNR's sturgeon hotline for recorded daily updates at 920-303-5444, select option 2 for sturgeon guard.

    Last Revised: Friday, April 17, 2015