More than ten women in the outdoor media world have been invited to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin this weekend to slay some dinosaurs. Okay, the closest thing we have to dinosaurs in the 21st century: the sturgeon. And slay is the right term. With a spear that falls between a gig and a trident, the ladies will watch through a huge hole (the size of a small conference room table) cut with a chain saw. From inside a dark spearing shanty they will watch, and watch and watch. Maybe, some of the gals will be lucky enough to see the prehistoric fish swim under their gaze. If they get a shot-mujer y pez-will their spear connect? What is it that draws the ladies to the hunt?
“I’m thrilled to be invited to my first sturgeon-spearing event in Fond du Lac,” shared Kristine (K.J.) Houtman, outdoor writer and author of several children’s books around fishing, camping and hunting and one of the media attendees. This marks the author’s first hunt for the ancient-looking fish without scales. “The season is strictly controlled by the DNR to manage a healthy, sustainable population of sturgeon. So as long as there are licenses and limits available to take one, why not me instead of the other guy. Or in the case of our women’s weekend-the other gal,” Houtman laughs. “The meat and eggs are a wonderful delicacy and I hope at least one of us brings a monster up through the ice.”
Monster is right. The bottom-dwelling lake sturgeon dates back 100 million years-and it looks it. The tale is shark-like and its exterior has bony-plates rather than fish scales. They grow to be old and huge-with a number of fish harvested above 80, 90 or 100 pounds or more.
Ice fishing (with traditional line and hook for a variety of species) and sturgeon spearing are both important winter outdoor sports in the Lake Winnebago area. “We have this amazing phenomenon that is rich in history and engages the entire family in our backyard,” shared Craig Molitor, President of Fond du Lac Convention and Visitors Bureau and host of the women’s media event entitled Women on Winnebago (W.O.W.). “A lot of folks are aware of the summer fun on Lake Winnebago. We love our Walleye Weekend every June that so many folks enjoy. What people might not know is that visitors from all over the country arrive for sturgeon spearing in the winter. It is really something unique that makes folks say ‘wow’.”
Women attending this special media event include Marianne Pfister Husky (Wisc.) Professional Angler and A.I.M. Angler of the Year (2012); Dena Woerner (Ark.) Outdoor Writer and Photographer; Carrie Zylka (Wisc.) Podcast Hostess, Author and Digital Media Specialist; Gretchen Steele (Ill.) Outdoor Writer and Photographer; Donnie Lori Smith (Ind.) Television Host and Outdoor Writer; Kristine (K.J.) Houtman (Minn.) Author and Outdoor Writer; Sara Ahrens (Ill.) Veteran, Police Officer, Firearms Instructor, Top Shot Contender (Season 3); Trisha Bowen (Wisc.) Bowhuntress, Prostaff Hunter and Archery Expert; Barb Carey (Wisc.) Angling Instructor, Prostaff Angler, Outdoor Writer; Chris Boche (Wisc.) Angling Instructor, Fishing Guide; April Lewandowski (Wisc.) Professional Angler
Updates on the strictly controlled harvest limits are shared via the Sturgeon Hotline at 920-303-5444. The season closes early if limits are reached ahead of schedule. Updated information and photos on the Women on Winnebago (W.O.W.) weekend can be found at http://wow.wwocz.net/. For more information contact Carrie Stollenwerk at email@example.com or call 920.948.0409.
Image courtesy Fond du Lac Area Visitors Bureau