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Passing Winter Wisconsin Style
Thought some of you guys would like to see how we pass some time here in Wisconsin during the winter “off season”.
We’re fortunate to have a thriving Lake Sturgeon population and we can spear them through the ice on the Lake Winnebago system.
Might sound crazy to some folks but this is bigger than opening day deer season for some and something I look foreword to most every year.
Starts out with a drive to the lake, or I should say a drive on the lake.
Yea, we plow roads on lakes here
It was a bit chilly Sunday morning but we were not detoured, nothing is going to slow us down for this. Besides it wasn’t that cold
Favored past time of many. Don’t be bartering the caviar! Lol
That usually is spilled on the ice Nick, but I know some keep it. Not for me though
Now that the wood is all cut, you have another reason to get out the chainsaw. You need a BIG hole to do this
Ice drinking is pretty much how it usually ends up. Been here 58 years, never even had any desire to do that. I think its insane, but have at 'er. My sil lives for it, the drinking I mean:)
You need to stand on the chunk your cutting just for fun and to freak people out
Then after it’s loose it usually takes about 3 guys to “sink” the block under and push it aside.
It may not look like it but the ice is about 18 inches thick
Knifeman, it’s definitely not for everyone! Can get boring during a 16 day season. I tell my wife who won’t go with that it’s like sitting in a dark closet with a TV on but not connected to any antenna
Once the shack is placed over the hole it starts making more sense. Drop in a decoy or a holiday theme coffee cup (my favorite) and wait..................then wait more.................
This spot is only 5 1/2 ft deep so I can see the bottom, many good places you can’t see bottom or the water clarity is bad but that decoy will bring up a curious fish. Often non-target fish check it out. Muskie, walleye, catfish and gar often show up
This should be pretty cool. I wouldn't get a cool and fuzzy driving my truck on the ice. Seen too many that went swimming while I was flying around.
Pretty fascinating! Keep it coming
I’d show a bunch of pics but they’re all the same now, just an amazing view of the bottom.
Then after two days of just staring down a hole a sturgeon came by. We have it on a pretty good video that I’d like to share but I’ve never tried to put a link on here to a YouTube video. Any pointers on how to do that?
I’m jealous, that’s a big hole and about good as it gets for spearing. Im following!
Can you spear other species of fish as well, or only sturgeon?
Not my biggest but I’m happy for sure. 61 inch just under 50 lbs. About average
Fish have been speared over 150lbs this year so far, season is still on
Fish well over 200lbs have been netted and tagged by DNR in recent years
T-roy, no not while sturgeon spearing not even carp.
“Not my biggest but I’m happy for sure. 61 inch just under 50 lbs. About average Fish have been speared over 150lbs this year so far, season is still on.” Unbelievable!
Any tips on how to post the YouTube video?
Things can kinda go bad staring in da hole day after day, after day. One guy thought it looked so inviting he jumped in. Figured pop in and pop out. Nah never got turned around to find the hole. suited professional divers had to make a retrieval.
Sad to hear the roe gets dumped on the ice what waste.
ELK ELSEWHERE's Link
Nick Muche's Link
Huntcell, if a female with eggs is speared in the “egg” area ya it’s all over. I personally don’t want it but someone usually does
I was referring to the recent hoopla about the caviar situation on Lake Winnebago.
ELK ELSEWHERE's Link
Awesome post, thanks, got me going to go!
This is the better longer version
Hope link works
I heard about that too Nick, should have asked at the registration station if this is the place to buy caviar
Awesome and timely thread. For whatever reason I've been on a kick of watching sturgeon spearing videos on YouTube recently. I wonder if I've already watched yours. Kind of fascinated by the sport and I'd like to give it a try some day. I saw that I can rent a full setup for a not too outrageous price. Not being local, that seems like the way to go.
The sturgeon meat looks very odd. Does it taste good? And congratulations on your success!
The meat is excellent. We smoke some on the pellet grill and chunk up pieces in 1” nuggets, bread an fry them. It has the consistency of shark meat. Not flaky like other fish
Overland, the meat is quite white after some trimming of the more yellow fat. It’s good smoked and can be good deep fried. One this size is not bad eating.
There are places on lake Winnebago to rent shacks and all necessary equipment. The spears are pretty specialized. When we spear deeper water you actually need to aim and sort of throw it. Mine is attached to the shack by about 100 feet of 1200 lb mule tape. (Strong flat rope to pull wires in the electrical trade). The heads detach so they can’t pull out by rolling on the bottom.
would it be possible to bow fish them? or do they pass by too quickly for that? very neat , thanks for sharing!
Igloo Bar - Lake of the Woods. It’s on the ice!
Igloo Bar - Lake of the Woods. It’s on the ice!
Awesome stuff EE! Thanks for sharing.
Need to open up one of these on the lake.
You could definitely bowfish them but at this time it’s not legal. Most of the spears are 6-8 tines with flying barb designs and as big as the sometimes are, I believe the dnr feels that the losses are minimized by this method. They don’t let you spear rough fish either, which is just biologically stupid
Thomas, that big hole you cut in the ice reminded me of a story. I use to own a tourist lodge on Lake Granby Colorado, home of some large Lake Trout. One day two guys from Texas came in and question me to where to go ice fishing. I took them to the window facing the frozen lake and pointed in the right direction. They thanked me and off they went. The time was around noon. Five hours later they were back but looked bedraggled, hot and sweaty.
I asked them how was the fishing? "Well" one stated, if it had not taken so long to cut a long and wide hole for the boat we might have gotten to fish but we did not." Dam Texans.
One of my goals is to head to the east side of the state and try this. I started buying points last year.
Congrats on your season.
What size and how many can you spear a season? Any idea on the population in the lake? I've ate smaller 24"-30" sturgeon and it is DELICIOUS!
36" minimum length, and only one per season. I think they estimate the total population of sturgeon to be around 50,000?
No need for preference points on Winnebago. Odds are not as good as the upriver lakes, but not too bad if you work at it.
This year for the up river lakes tags Thier were 8600 applicants for 500 tags in a true preference point system. Do the ugly math. 16 years to draw one if you start next year. However very reasonable for points- $3 per. Lake Winnebago is over the counter. 60% success rate on the upper lakes and Winnebago is usually around 10%
That's very interesting, thanks for sharing the experience.
Pretty cool particularly for a southern boy thanks for letting us tag along Good luck Lewis
Pretty cool. I saw a show a while back about this type of fishing. Don't remember what lake or even state, but just remember how big the event was and the season only lasted no more than an hour or so since the quota filled fast. Game wardens and biologists had radios and once the quota was caught, they shut it down. Must have been a smaller lake.
We cut a hole like that on a pond up here and jumped in with rescue suits on for training 2 weeks ago. Then we had to walk out on the river ice and crashed through. We were tethered though with two guys manning the rope. It was almost twenty below and I never got cold. Those suits are awesome and float enough to keep your head above water. With a lot of water rescues and retrievals up here we train several times a year. My favorite training sessions. The first time you walk out and crash through, it is a real rush. You are putting faith in the tether guys in case the current tries to slide you under the ice. We walk out holding ice spikes so that won’t happen but it still is scary the first time. I am the old man of the squad so I go first to show the newbies that it is no big deal. Once the young guys get out there it is hard to get them out as they love it.