WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW)-- Ahead of the sturgeon spearing season starting next month, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources(DNR) is making changes because of COVID-19.
The season begins on February 13 and runs for a maximum of 16 days or until pre-determined harvest caps are met.
The caps are; 430 juvenile females, 950 adult females, and 1,200 males.
"The registration process this year will be contactless where the spearer will remain in their vehicles at all times, our DNR staff will remove the fish from the vehicle, collect the critical biological data that we need from that individual fish," said Ryan Koenigs the DNR Winnebago Sturgeon Biologist. "We'll place the metal registration tag on the fish at the end of the process and then we will return that fish to the vehicle."
The DNR is asking spearers to have the sturgeon on tailgates or in easily accessible locations.
All registration stations are drive-thru only and have been moved to boat landings, city parks, and government building parking lots for the season.
The 2021 season will be the first where both spear size and tine arrangement are restricted, spearhead width is 18 inches and tines can only be arranged in a single plane.
There were 12,200 licenses sold for the season.
Wisconsin's Winnebago system has an estimated 42,000 adult lake sturgeon.