Take part in this annual rite by viewing spawning or even taking it a step further and volunteering to be a member of the Sturgeon Patrol.
Maps, directions and parking information make it easy to view spring sturgeon spawning. Spawning is temperature-dependent, and is affected by the rate of water flow. Sturgeon spawning happens, typically, in April or May. If the spring water flow is high, a temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit or more is when spawning begins. If there is low water flow and more rapid water temperature rise, spawning does not begin until water temperatures reach 58-59 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each spring, hundreds of volunteers have an opportunity to guard sturgeon at their spawning sites on the Wolf River and protect the fish from poaching. When the sturgeon are spawning along the rocky shorelines of the Wolf River, they are fairly oblivious to nearby human activity and are very susceptible to illegal harvest.
The volunteers of the Sturgeon Patrol guard the spawning fish 24 hours a day throughout the spawning season. Sturgeon guards are necessary to protect these historic fish during their spawning season.
While it is impossible to predict the exact dates that spawning will occur year, guards are routinely scheduled from April 15 through May 5. Spawning generally occurs over a seven to 10-day period within that time window.
For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or call (920) 303-5444.
Many of those involved with the Sturgeon Patrol are also members of Sturgeon for Tomorrow. The group was founded in 1977 by sturgeon enthusiasts from the Lake Winnebago watershed. Members are motivated to help preserve, protect and enhance the sturgeon resource of the lake system. That group quickly grew into the largest citizen advocacy group for sturgeon in the world, currently made up of five chapters and more 3,000 members.
Through tremendous dedication and hard work Sturgeon For Tomorrow (SFT) has raised and donated to date more than $750,000 for sturgeon research and management since its inception. SFT has funded a wide variety of projects over the years, including the sturgeon guard program, spawning and nursery site construction on the Wolf River, sturgeon population assessments and special assessment equipment purchases. SFT is also responsible for sponsoring research that helped develop Wisconsin’s lake sturgeon artificial propagation program.