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2011 Sturgeon-Spearing Season Concludes; Explore New Ways to Keep the Season Alive

The 2011 lake sturgeon-spearing season concluded on Feb. 27 with nearly 100 of the 1,426 fish taken tipping the scales at 100-plus pounds. Despite the season-end, devotees of the sport – and those interested in the history and culture behind it – can continue its enjoyment through “People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish.” 

The book was written by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute’s Kathleen Schmitt Kline and Fred Binkowski, along with Ron Bruch, fisheries team supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“People of the Sturgeon” is published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and features 292 pages of rich narrative and stirring photos of this prehistoric fish that can live for more than 200 years and grow longer than six feet. The species was brought back from the brink of extinction through the devotion of stewards in this state, and the book provides the background. The book is available through, wisconsinhistory.org/whspress/books. 

Additionally, plans are underway for an e-version. An audio adaption is also in production, with narration by the authors and enhanced with other sounds such as the crunching of Lake Winnebago’s ice, sturgeon fins slapping on water and chants of the Menominee Nation in traditional dance honoring the fish. 

Kathy Borkowski, director of the Wisconsin Historical Press, said, “This book has been one of the most popular titles in our 156-year history. Its new formats will only broaden its appeal regionally, nationally, and we believe, internationally. In particular, there is a strong worldwide interest in what Wisconsin has done on behalf of the sturgeon population.”

“I am pleased we will soon bring the audio experience of this book to new audiences,” said Chris Bocast with UW Sea Grant. “When I first read this rich tale of Wisconsin traditions, I felt that it would make a powerful and compelling audio narrative that would both complement and bring added dimensions to the original text.” Bocast is the audio producer for “People of the Sturgeon.”