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Fishing WisconsinLake sturgeon spawning

It's over: 2015 spawning season a distant memory

A spawning recap

As anticipated the 2015 sturgeon spawning run on the Winnebago System passed by very quickly. The first spawning activity was observed on the upper Fox River @ Eureka on the evening of April 14. However, spawning activity was very limited at that point. Spawning continued at sites on the upper Fox River @ Eureka and Princeton on April 15 with fish also started to exhibit intense pre-spawn behavior at sites further downstream on the Wolf River. Our crew handled 4 fish at Princeton that date, all of which were implanted with 10 year sonic transmitters to monitor their movement and future spawning migrations. Spawning activity began on the Wolf, Little Wolf and Pigeon Rivers on April 16. Our crew handled a total of 70 fish on the 16th including 7 fish at the Manawa Dam on the Little Wolf River and 11 at the Clintonville Dam on the Pigeon River. Peak spawning activity occurred throughout the Winnebago System on Friday and Saturday. Fish were still spawning at a few sites on Sunday, but not nearly to the intensity observed on Friday-Saturday, and by Monday the run was pretty much over.

Although the spawning run this year was short, we actually handled roughly 50 more females than during the extended spawning run of 2014. I plan to send out a more detailed report in the coming months after we have had a chance to enter all of the data into our database and conduct further analysis. The weather was exceptionally nice during this year’s spawning migration, which offered great opportunity for people to get out and take in the sturgeon spawning activity. A member of the conservation group Shadows on the Wolf told me that they figured >6,000 visitors came through Bamboo Bend per day on Friday and Saturday! That is truly remarkable and doesn’t include the number of people who came to see sturgeon spawn at other sites throughout the Winnebago System

- Ryan Koenigs, sturgeon biologist, Oshkosh. 

Sturgeon spawning

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.

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
Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Karl Scheidegger
Fisheries biologist
Last revised: Wednesday April 22 2015