Sturgeon Spearing Tales Live On

As Wisconsin’s 2013 lake sturgeon spearing season kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 9, the sounds of the annual rite can be accessed any time after that, even though quotas are met, weigh stations are closed and the ice is out. The sturgeon spearing tales live on through an audiobook version of “People of the Sturgeon, Wisconsin’s Love Affair With an Ancient Fish.”

Wisconsin is home to the world’s largest self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon. Dedicated volunteers and state and university biologists forged a cooperative effort to pull this fish back from threatened status. That story is celebrated in this compelling book. The stewardship is also supported through audiobook sales. A portion of proceeds is committed to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to support Lake Winnebago System sturgeon management efforts.

Authors Kathleen Schmitt Kline, Ronald Bruch and Frederick Binkowski narrate, with additional contributions from four others. The audio production is far more than a straight read. It features music and sounds recorded on location that bring to life the experience of a Native-American pow-wow, the hunt for sturgeon from the frigid surface of Lake Winnebago, the craftsmanship of a decoy carver and much more.

Listen to excerpts.

The audiobook expands on the print’s content to include updates on Menominee tribal and WDNR relations; new information on sturgeon aging; music by Madison, Wis., artists Graminy; and definitive spring 2011 recordings of the mysterious sounds of sturgeon “thunder,” later analyzed and proven to be infrasonic. Sturgeon thunder is the subject of an ongoing WDNR and University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute study about the sounds produced by the large fish.

Chris Bocast produced the book with the support of the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute. Downloadable copies are available at for $14.95 or a four-CD set can be purchased for $34.95.