Fishermen aiming for sturgeon on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago are not only seeing success, they are having trouble keeping count who has the bigger fish. On Sunday Fond du Lac resident Don Feldner managed to land a whopping 148-pound sturgeon. The very next day, Brian King speared a 155-pound sturgeon from the icy waters. King told reporters it was the aid of a ragged, but “lucky” shirt that helped him land the biggest sturgeon so far this season.
According to the Associated Press, Feldner’s 74.6-inch-long fish was the first sturgeon he caught in 19 years. Spearing for sturgeon is a tradition in the Feldner family, and it is something that he passed down to his son despite the long years of coming home empty-handed. Don Feldener’s father previously held the family record when he caught a 106-pound fish decades ago. The event was so rare that the Feldner family had even an outline of that catch attached to their sturgeon shanty.
“I’m still numb,” Feldener told The Reporter Media after the catch. “It isn’t sinking in yet but I’m happy.”
King, also of Fond du Lac, has his own traditions as well. The fisherman came to Lake Winnebago dressed in a ragged, torn shirt that King said brings him luck. That seems to be true, as King recounted to Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com that he had taken his biggest deer, two bears, and now this 76.4-inch sturgeon while wearing the garment.
You can watch an interview with King below:
“I felt pretty good,” King said. “I had to call for help. I called my dad for help.”
Wisconsin has the world’s largest population of wild sturgeon, thanks to the efforts of local conservationists and the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). According to the agency, Wisconsin contains an estimated 15,847 adult female sturgeon and 31,748 adult males. About 10,000 people show up every February to take part in the short spearing season, including OutdoorHub contributor K.J. Houtman.
“The people of Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin—particularly in the incredible area around Fond du Lac—are the most passionate sturgeon-lovers I know,” Houtman wrote. “The combined efforts of Department of Natural Resources professionals and the Sturgeon for Tomorrow Club members have improved sturgeon fisheries not just in their local area, but throughout this continent and around the world.”
It is a sentiment that King agreed with, as the fisherman credited both the work by the DNR and Sturgeon for Tomorrow Club—along with his shirt—for his large catch.
According to sturgeon biologist Ryan Koenigs, spearing season will likely end on Lake Winnebago within the next few days.