The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tagged what they say is the largest sturgeon they’ve tagged on the Lake Winnebago system since they started the tagging program in the 1950s.
DNR officials found the female sturgeon on the Wolf River near Shawano on Tuesday. She was longer than 7 feet 3 inches and weighed 240 pounds. They caught the fish while she was spawning; she had already laid some eggs, which means she would have weighed 30-40 pounds more than at the time they weighed her. Officials laughed at the fact that she is larger than some linebackers. FDL Reporter remarked that Desmond Bishop of the Packers weighs 238 pounds.
DNR Biologist Ron Bruch was part of the team to tag the fish. Based on age and sex and an extensive database on lake sturgeon length at age, Bruch estimates that the fish was hatched around 1887 which would make her 125 years old. In an email, he went on to say that he expects sturgeon, particularly females, to be able to regularly live up to 150 years of age.
Not only did biologists capture that sturgeon that day, but a record number of the fish were captured and tagged at the Lake Winnebago System. A total of 565 fish were tagged and released in a single day.
The sturgeon they tagged may be the largest fish the department captured Tuesday, but it may not be the oldest in the Lake Winnebago system, although she is among the oldest.
Photo: Ron Bruch/Wisconsin DNR