Contact(s): Ryan Koenigs, DNR Lake Winnebago sturgeon biologist, 920-303-5450
OSHKOSH, Wis. – Wisconsin’s oldest fish species – lake sturgeon present when dinosaurs roamed the earth – is set for an updated management plan. Sturgeon lovers can help shape that plan by attending one of eight public meetings statewide in mid-February and early-March.
“Wisconsin’s sturgeon team is in the early stages of a process to update the sturgeon management plan and we want to hear from anglers and others interested in sturgeon,” says Ryan Koenigs, the sturgeon biologist who leads the Department of Natural Resources sturgeon team. “These meetings provide people an opportunity to comment on the state’s sturgeon management program and will set the stage for development of the plan.”
Lake sturgeon are currently managed under guidance from the 2000 Lake Sturgeon Management Plan. The current plan was completed in 2000 and has guided much of the statewide management and recovery efforts for lake sturgeon in Wisconsin. Many of the recommendations outlined in the current plan have been addressed and the plan is in need of updating. Additionally, the 2000 plan was specific to lake sturgeon only, whereas the updated plan will include both shovelnose and lake sturgeon management recommendations. To kick off the planning process, the DNR will be holding 8 public meetings statewide. The meeting locations were selected to be in the general area of sturgeon populations that provided recreational angling or spearing (Winnebago System) opportunities. The meeting in the Winnebago System area will be held in Conference rooms A and B of the Coughlin Building (625 E County Rd. Y, Oshkosh, 54901) on Wednesday February 21, 2018.
Public meeting dates, locations and starting times:
• Tuesday, Feb. 20 – Eau Claire, 6:30 p.m., DNR Eau Claire Service Center, 1300 W. Clairemont Ave.;
• Tuesday, Feb. 20 – Fitchburg, 6:30 p.m., DNR Fitchburg Service Center, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road;
• Tuesday, Feb. 20 – Webster, 6:30 p.m., Larsen Family Public Library, 7401 W. Main St.;
• Wednesday, Feb. 21 – La Crosse, 6:30 p.m. DNR La Crosse Service Center, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road;
• Wednesday, Feb. 21 – Oshkosh, 6:30 p.m., Coughlin Building, Conference rooms A and B, 625 E County Road Y;
• Wednesday, Feb. 21 – Park Falls, 6 p.m. Public Library, 410 Division St.;
• Tuesday, March 6 – Ashland, 6 p.m. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, 2100 Beaser Ave.; and
• Tuesday, March 6 – Oconto, 6 p.m., Oconto City Hall, 1210 Main St.
There also will be future opportunities for people to comment online, and materials prepared for the meetings will be posted online as they become available. The WI DNR is in the process of getting a dedicated website to the management plan update and we hope to have that up and running prior to the meeting dates.
Wisconsin has long been regarded as a national and international leader in sturgeon protection, restoration and research – a reputation built since DNR began regulating sturgeon harvest on the Winnebago system in 1903.
Wisconsin offers a hook-and-line season on multiple major rivers with healthy, growing populations and boasts the world’s largest self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon. In locations where sturgeon populations are not as strong, DNR and partners are working to rebuild sturgeon populations.
For more information regarding sturgeon management, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “sturgeon.”