Contact(s): Mike Young, conservation warden 920-986-3614; Trish Ossmann, public affairs manager 920-662-5122
SEYMOUR, Wis. -- Ask any conservation warden and he or she will likely have a story to tell, one so unique it hasn't happened before and quite possibly never will again.
That's exactly what happened to three Department of Natural Resources conservation wardens this week after a call came in about a sturgeon that took two wrong turns and ended up in a creek, roughly 25 miles away from the rest of its spawning friends.
It all started with a call from a concerned citizen in Seymour, who informed their local police department of a large sturgeon stranded in the Black Creek at Seymour Lake Park. Law enforcement contacted DNR Conservation Warden Mike Young who pulled together a crew and headed to the site.
Once he and conservation wardens Ted Dremel and Bryan Harrenstein arrived, they found a large sturgeon swimming in the stream. The water level was dropping and the stream was blocked by a natural dam. The sturgeon had nowhere to go. So, with net in hand, Young got into the water and, despite some elusive behavior from the fish, netted it. It took all three wardens and a police officer to pull the fish out of the water and carry her to the large tub in the back of Young's truck.
"This is a wonderful example of how public cooperation can lead to positive results," said Young. "By contacting authorities and not trying to remove this fish themselves, we were able to get the sturgeon back safely to its spawning grounds."
Young took the female sturgeon to Shiocton where fisheries staff assisted in handling her. The sturgeon measured a whopping 72 inches, weighed an estimated 100 pounds and was full of eggs, ready for spawning. They also checked her for an implanted tag biologists use to identify individual fish. This sturgeon didn't have one so they implanted one for her and recorded her information. She was then released back into the Wolf River to join the rest of the spawning sturgeon population.
"In my 20 years as a conservation warden, I have never seen a fish take a wrong turn and end up like this," said Young. "She traveled up the Wolf River, into the Shioc River, and ended up in the Black Creek. It's strange for her to be so far away from the rest of the group, but we're glad to have gotten her to where she needed to be."