December 19, 2014

‘Sturgeon guards’ on duty as spawning begins

SturgeonBSturgeon spawning is underway in the waters leading to Lake Winnebago. Warden Supervisor April Dombrowski of Oshkosh said the weekend’s warmer temperatures have heated the water to nearly ideal spawning conditions for the big fish on the Fox, Wolf and Embarrass Rivers.

“This is really a significant time, because the sturgeon come so close to shore and to the banks that people have the opportunity to look at these magnificent fish in mass numbers,” she said. And people do come, which is where the “Sturgeon Guards” come in. “People don’t mean to do harm,” Dombrowski explained. “But because they’re just intrigued with these fish, they get wrapped up in the moment, and try to touch the fish or grab a fish.”

The all-volunteer Sturgeon Guard program has been in existence since 1977, and requires a good deal of dedication: the guards are assigned 12 hour shifts. The DNR is still looking for a few volunteers to to work as Sturgeon Guards. Dombrowski said the usual seven to ten day spawn is likely to be a little shorter this year, due to the cold spring.