Spearers find clearer water upriver

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN (WBAY) – Thousands of spearers are getting ready for Saturday’s start of the sturgeon spearing season.

Water clarity on the popular Lake Winnebago is only about ten feet, which could make it difficult to catch that prize. The shallower waters in the upriver lakes are much clearer, which makes spearers there feel good about their chances this year.

“It’s been roughly 30 years I been out here. Too long,” Ron Young of Kaukauna said. “Too many of these cold days like this.”

Young and the boys found their spot on Lake Poygan. After less than a half-hour of sawing a hole, they’re all set to go.

The group usually spears sturgeon on Lake Winnebago, but this year is different.

“We got one guy that drew a Poygan tag, so we all come out and help him get set up. It’s a team sport here,” Young says.

Lake Poygan is part of the upriver lakes. Only 500 people are chosen to get a tag for the three bodies of water each year, and the season is shorter here because of a lower harvest cap.

“It’s kind of like waiting for Christmas-type thing,” Pat Gorchals says.

Gorchals is vice president of the Lake Poygan Sportsmens Club, which plows the lake ahead of the season.

“It’s a smaller body of water so there’s a greater concentration of fish, so you have a better chance of seeing a fish.”

Just a couple of weeks ago parts of Lake Poygan were still open water, but now it’s thick, solid ice.

And once you break through that layer, it’s clear why everyone likes spearing here.

Look down and you can see straight to the lake’s sandy bottom.

Dan Domrzalski owns Boom Bay Bar & Grill. He says this season could be big.

“We’re anticipating to be bigger and better this year.”

This is the first year the DNR will have a sturgeon registration station at Boom Bay.

Young’s group says they’d like to haul in a big one but will be more than happy to catch what they can.

“Just so we get enough fish for our fish fry,” Young says. “That’s all we count on.”

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