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Wisconsin Wildlife > Types of Fish | Fishing

Sturgeon in Wisconsin

By: Tanya Rothe


Many of Wisconsin’s lakes are home to a variety of sturgeon that has been known to get as large as over 200 pounds!  This delicious breed of fish is a dense type of meat that can be prepared and cooked in many ways depending on your preferences.  If your goal is to catch that record making Wisconsin Sturgeon, you need to make sure you use a fairly firm sturgeon rod with a 50lb test fishing line, otherwise as the second they bite your bait will be the same second they disappear with your bait and your pride.  They tend to bite onto worms and minnows that they find along the water bottom.  If you travel to Wisconsin during the month of February, you will have the chance of experiencing the fun of spear fishing for sturgeon in the Northern lakes, especially Lake Winnebago.  Many have also enjoyed more than just the meat of this juicy fish.  The eggs from the sturgeon are considered a delicacy all around the state.

Wisconsin Sturgeon Photos & Pictures


One major thing that is important for you to remember is that in Wisconsin, it is a law that you are not allowed to sell the skin and roe of any of the Lake Sturgeon.  There are also very strict bag limit and size guidelines so that we don’t over-fish and eliminate this great species.  Did you know that Sturgeon is one of the oldest fish families?  They like to stick to subtropical and sub-arctic rivers and lakes in the United States and Eurasia.  Some of their distinctive body features are their long bodies and the fact that they don’t have any scales.  Sturgeons are one of the most valuable of any of the species of fish that you harvest.  This family of fish dates back almost 200 million years ago making them one of the oldest of their class.  Always check the local sturgeon fishing regulations!

Types of Sturgeon:

Siberian, Shortnose, Yangtze, Lake, Russian, Green, Sakhalin, Adriatic, Fringebarbel, Atlantic, Persian, Sterlet, Amur, Chinese, Starry, European Sea, White, Kaluga, Beluga, Pallid, Shovelnose, Alabama, Syr Darya, Dwarf, and Amu Darya.

Name: Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Acipenser Oxyrinchus Oxyrinchus
Family: Acipenseridae
General Description: Have bony plates instead of scales, don’t have vertebral centra, 4 barbels, long bodies, flattened rostra, and long upper tail lobes.
Habitat: Sub-tropical and sub-artic lakes and rivers in North America and Eurasia.
Spawning/Sexual Maturity: Most spawn in freshwater, late April to Early June, shallow and rocky areas, prefer water to be 53 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, males get to spawning location before females, typically 50,000 to 700,000 eggs each spawning season, takes 5-8 days to hatch, female is sexually mature at 24-26 years old, males are mature at around 15 years.
Diet: Crayfish, snails, bug larvae, and invertebrates.
Life Expectancy: Up to 55 years for males and about 150 for females.
Predators: humans
Fishing Hotspots: Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin River, Mississippi River, and any other major river systems in the state.
Popular baits: Always try to use fresh bait. Clams, lamprey eels, crawfish, smaller fish, and salmon eggs.
State Record: 170lbs 10oz, 79 inches long, Yellow Lake, Burnett County, WI
World Record: For lake sturgeon, it’s the same as our state record.
Extra Facts: It is illegal to sell the skin and eggs of lake sturgeon in Wisconsin, are bottom feeders, are called the dinosaur fish, and are considered federally and state endangered.


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