Feb. 15, 2023 Harvest Update



Feb. 15, 2023 Harvest Update

Only 11 fish were harvested today between Lake Winnebago and the Upriver lakes. This is the first time we’ve seen harvest this slow since 2019 when we had a few days with only 10 fish harvested. Eight fish were harvested from Lake Winnebago (0 juvenile females, 4 adult females, 4 males) and three from the Upriver lakes (0 juvenile female, 1 adult females, 2 males). There are still 2 adult females left until the 90% trigger is activated or 10 more adult females until the 100% cap is reached on the Upriver lakes. Colder weather is on its way into the area tonight, so we may see an increase in spearing activity tomorrow. The Upriver Season will continue to be open tomorrow.

View the full details in today’s full harvest report.

There were no 100 lb. fish harvested today. The biggest fish harvested was a 75.4 lbs., F1, female that measured 67.1 inches long, speared by Anthony Woelfel.

While we get really excited about seeing the big fish come in, it is also good to see smaller fish as well. Why? Small fish mean there are more new fish growing into the population. It’s these smaller fish (generally 55 inches or smaller) that will one day replace the larger fish. This balance between a good number of big fish and fish on the smaller end of the spectrum is another indication of a healthy sturgeon population in the Winnebago system. There are enough resources for the fish to grow to over 100 lbs. but also enough resources to allow the next generation to thrive.

Hopefully the tides will turn, and the forecasted lows will help solidify ice conditions. If you are headed out tomorrow good luck and, as always, be safe.


Griffin Hechimovich helping pull Grandpa Hank Heckimovich’s 75.6 lbs. sturgeon after registering it at the Winneconne station.

Meet Sturgeon Habitat Biologist Mike O’Boyle

Meet Mike O’Boyle, the new Sturgeon Habitat Biologist for the Winnebago system. Mike has a master’s degree in biology and years of fisheries experience. He spent several years working for Florida Fish and Wildlife as a marine fisheries biologist. With a background in fish-habitat work, Mike was involved in mapping seafloor habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and used underwater cameras to study fish-habitat interactions while at sea. He is also accustomed working with large fish. He regularly contributed to gamefish population assessments and species research focused on sharks, Goliath grouper and Smalltooth Sawfish.

No stranger to Wisconsin, Mike received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Lawrence University in Appleton. He looks forward to partnering with landowners and conservation groups to implement habitat projects that benefit sturgeon during the spawn. Mike is also excited to be handling our acoustic telemetry program used to track sturgeon in the Winnebago system.

Please reach out to him with any questions about sturgeon habitat.

Season Photos Needed

The DNR is looking for spearers to submit photos that help tell a story through a photo submission form. Photos could be of spearers with their catch, cutting in, shanty life, scenic views observed during the season or anything else that captures the spearing tradition.

Please make sure the photos are age appropriate. Select photos will be used for future DNR outreach efforts.


Additional information on the Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season can be found on the DNR website.