Wisconsin sturgeon spearing has become a time-honored family tradition for many folks. Watch this excellent film showing one lucky spearer making the most of his chance on the ice, after eight years of trying for a tag.
For sturgeon spearer Ben Berger, the eight years of trying for an Up River tag was worth it. Berger scored on a behemoth sturgeon, the biggest in the Lake Winnebago Up River chain of lakes since the 2014 season.
Berger, from Omro, Wisconsin, has been involved with sturgeon spearing since he was a kid sitting in an ice shanty with his dad. He finally scored his first sturgeon at the young age of 15, when he speared an 85-pound fish. "Pulled it out by myself," he recalled, "and it was like the biggest adrenaline rush ever."
The adrenaline was pumping when Berger stabbed a finned dinosaur this year. His sturgeon measured 75 inches in length, putting it at around 60 years old. The beast weighed an incredible 155 pounds.
"They said it was the biggest fish taken out of the Winnebago system since the 2014 season," Berger says, "so I guess when you hear that it kinda hits you how big the fish really is."
Berger's big female attracted a crowd. "I sat at the weigh station for probably twenty minutes with a crowd gathering, taking pictures, so you definitely know it's a huge fish at that point."
Wisconsin sturgeon spearing is a sport that knows no age limits. Berger said that, unlike hunting where a lot of older folks give it up in their advancing years, sturgeon spearing still gets 70-, 80- and even 90-year olds out onto the ice to try their luck.
This was a great year for sturgeon spearing videos on Lake Winnebago. The total fish harvest was down because of water clarity, but a number of excellent videos were released (including this one by The Hunting Public) and some really big fish were taken.
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