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Fishing WisconsinLake sturgeon spawning

Spawning season 2018 - It's over!

May 5 -This year’s sturgeon spawning run on the Winnebago System will certainly be remembered as a weird one.  The high water made it difficult to capture large numbers of fish and the warm temperatures this week condensed the spawning activity at each location.  Normally we get two days at the Shawano Dam where we can handle large numbers of sturgeon. There were a lot of fish spawning at the dam yesterday, but spawning was all but over this morning already. We attempted to capture fish on each side of the river, but only combined to handle 16 fish.

The 2018 spawning run is all but over. After a quick look at our tagging results, we handled roughly 1,078 fish. This number is quite a bit lower than what we have handled in recent springs, but that reduction is largely attributable to the high water this spring. The fish were spawning in large numbers at all of the traditional spawning sites, but they simply were spawning in deeper water and thus not as vulnerable to our sampling gear.

I know that many folks came out to see the sturgeon spawn at New London, Shiocton, and Shawano this spring. The spawning on the Wolf River provides such a unique opportunity for people to see these large fish spawn in shallow water and it’s always very rewarding to see people interested in the resource and the work that our crew does to manage the population.

--Ryan Koenigs, fisheries biologist, Oshkosh

Lake sturgeon spawning infographic

Learn a little bit about this annual ritual [PDF]


Spawning at New London 2016

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 - 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. Contact Barbara Helmick at 920-420-1140 for more information.

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
Last revised: Wednesday June 27 2018