Skip to main content

Sturgeon guard volunteers

Fishing Wisconsin

Each spring, hundreds of volunteers have an opportunity to monitor sturgeon at their spawning sites on the Wolf River, protect the fish from poaching and help educate the public about this special resource. When the sturgeon spawn along the rocky shoreline of the Wolf River, they are fairly oblivious to nearby human activity and are susceptible to illegal harvest and unintentional harassment from overly enthusiastic spectators.

To help protect Wisconsinites and staff from the spread of COVID-19, particularly those most vulnerable to infection and severe disease, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is once again canceling Sturgeon Guard.

For more than 30 years, the DNR has partnered with volunteers monitoring sturgeon at their spawning sites on the Wolf River to protect the fish from poaching and help educate the public about this special resource. Based on the popularity of the Surgeon Guard, attracting hundreds of volunteers, it is paramount to cancel the event in order to protect the health and safety of the public and staff.

However, the sturgeon will not be without protection. DNR wardens will still patrol and protect the sturgeon while they spawn on the Wolf, Embarrass, and Fox rivers.

While it is impossible to predict the exact dates that spawning will occur each year, guards are scheduled from April 15 through April 30. Spawning generally occurs over a seven to 10-day period within that time. While we do our best to get all scheduled guards out on the riverbank to see fish, invariably we must cancel some scheduled shifts if the fish are simply not active. We try in those cases to reschedule guards into an active period.

Background information

The Sturgeon Guard program [PDF] - History of the Sturgeon Guard program