Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

A closed season


This winter, the temperatures were unusually warmer than normal. While some enjoyed this nice weather, others were disappointed that they couldn’t do their favorite winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities. One of these activities was sturgeon spearing, a big winter sport for people in Oshkosh and around Wisconsin. 

This didn’t stop senior Jackson Angle and junior Charlie Clark from going ice fishing this winter. 

“We went out on the ice usually 2 to 3 times a week,” Clark said.

Sturgeon spearing was originally implemented to stabilize the sturgeon population in the Winnebago area, but it soon became a fun sport for families across Wisconsin. Before sturgeon spearing was regulated, the population was very slim, but thanks to regulation, current sturgeon populations are at 42,000 in the Winnebago area.

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Before spearfishing season this year, temperatures had already risen. The average temperature this January was 20.9°F. Two years ago, it was 12.8°F. The temperature towards the end of spearfishing season this year was 30°F degrees, with the highest being 45°F.

This year, only 302 sturgeons were harvested from Lake Winnebago, drastically smaller than the 1,519 sturgeon harvested during the 2022 season

However, Clark also noted that fishing overall was down in the area.

“The fishing was way better a while ago, I don’t know how it got so bad. It’s still decent, but it’s not how it used to be,” Clark said.

 A reason for the dwindling numbers could be pointed to global warming. As temperatures increase, less ice will be out on the lake, making it difficult for many sturgeon spearers. Although there was ice this year, it was easily broken and thin. Clark noted how the ice cracked while he was walking on it. 

“There were a couple times where you would take a step on the ice and it would crack.”

Thin ice deters many sturgeon spearers, as it makes the hobby more difficult and less safe, Clark explained.

“Most of the spots people go to go super far out and have big shacks, but this year you could only use tents because the ice was thin. So we had to go out with tents this year instead, and it was a little harder.” Clark said.

To be safe, they stuck to shorelines and didn’t venture out too far.

 “This year we couldn’t go far out, so we had to stick to bays, like over by Butte des Morts,” Clark said.

Angle and Clark knew people who went, but didn’t feel it was worth it. They also pointed out that the amount of people out on the ice was drastically smaller than what they’ve traditionally seen.

“Usually there are 6,000 shacks, and the most up there this year was 450,” Angle said.

Angle and Clark don’t think this will affect future years of sturgeon spearing.

“Hopefully there will be enough ice next year so we can take the truck and trailer out and be safe and get one hopefully,” Clark said.

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Samantha Retelle
Samantha Retelle, Reporter
class of '27 live, laugh, love

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