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February 4, 2014

OSHKOSH - With just days to go before the 2014 Winnebago lake sturgeon spearing season opens Feb. 8, state fisheries officials report that water clarity and ice conditions, the best in a decade and the keys to spearing success, continue to improve.

DNR fisheries biologists checked water clarity earlier this morning, Feb. 4, and found water clarity had increased from several weeks ago even.

"The current water clarity conditions of 14-16 feet of visibility are the best we've seen since the 2008-2010 spearing seasons, which were all very successful spearing seasons lasting four to eight days," says Ryan Koenigs, Winnebago sturgeon biologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

Koenigs forecasts an exciting 2014 season due to favorable water clarity and ice conditions making it easier for spearers to get around on the ice and also for them to see sturgeon underwater.

"Given the clear water, we are anticipating a relatively short season that will likely be highlighted by the harvest of many trophy sized fish," he says.

The prospects of really big fish are also raising expectations for the season. A record 9.5 percent of the sturgeon harvested from Lake Winnebago during the 2013 season weighed more than 100 pounds and DNR staff have routinely observed fish larger than 200 pounds in recent spring surveys.

Learn more about lake sturgeon and the unique winter spearing season in DNR's "Sturgeon Week" series of web features, including today's feature on record fish.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Koenigs, 920-303-5450

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 04, 2014

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