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Fishing WisconsinLake sturgeon spawning 2013

Spawning update

Thursday, May 2

It has been a wild and crazy spring, and the weather has affected the spring sturgeon spawn.  The warm weather late last week and early this week activated fish at numerous spawning sites throughout the Winnebago System and fish were spawning at numerous sites simultaneously during the early part of this week (Monday-Wednesday).  Late Wednesday afternoon it really looked like the fish were going to spawn hard at the Shawano Dam on Thursday and Friday, concluding the first spawning run which is typically the largest run.  Most of the females that we were handling in Shawano on Wednesday afternoon were still hard and had not started laying their eggs, but looked to be close.   However, we were very surprised Thursday morning when there was not nearly as much spawning activity below the dam as anticipated or that we normally observe.  This trend continued as I was at the dam this morning and there were no longer visible fish.  At this point, it looks like some of the early females spawned before the colder weather came in, but the later spawning fish did not start spawning before water temperatures started to decrease.  Thus there is still spawning to take place at the Shawano Dam and the fish will wait until water temperatures warm up to within their optimal range before they come back in.  There was intense spawning over the last 4-5 days, but there is likely also more action lying ahead.


UWSP students with large sturgeon

Wolf River cam at Shawano Dam - underwater [exit DNR]

Call the sturgeon hotline number for recorded daily updates: (920) 303-5444.

Sturgeon guard

Volunteer to guard sturgeon at their spawning sites on the Wolf River and protect the fish from poaching

Lake sturgeon spawning/viewing locations on the Wolf River

Maps open to larger images. Sites are listed from North to South

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Shawano Dam in Shawano - Parking available on the east side of the river at the end of Richmond Street.
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Bamboo Bend at Shiocton - on County Highway 54. Parking available on the north side of County Hwy. 54.
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Wolf River Sturgeon Trail (near New London) - about 2 miles west of New London on County Highway X. Parking available on the south side of the river about 1/2 mile from the spawning site

During mid-April to early May, Lake Sturgeon travel upstream to their spawning grounds, giving the public a prime opportunity to see these ancient ones up close.

Sturgeon spawning is dependent on water temperature and flow. During seasons when water flow is high and water temperatures rise slowly, spawning begins when water temperature reaches 53 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, during seasons of low water flow and more rapid water temperature rise, spawning does not begin until water temperatures reach 58-59 degrees Fahrenheit.

Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Karl Scheidegger
Fisheries biologist
Last revised: Friday May 03 2013