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Lake sturgeon spawning

Fishing Wisconsin

Spawning season 2021 

The spawning season this year was short, intense and early! By April 13, most sturgeon on the Wolf and Upper Fox Rivers had stopped spawning. In early April, the unseasonably warm temperatures warmed the rivers into the high 50s and low 60s, causing the sturgeon to spawn early. There may continue to be a few stragglers at some locations, but the main spawning activity is over for the year.

Our DNR staff were able to handle just over 1,300 sturgeon this spring! These captured sturgeon were measured, checked for tags, tagged if they didn’t already have a tag and released back into the river. The information gained from these survey efforts is used to manage the Winnebago System sturgeon population. 

Sturgeon are just beginning to spawn in Green Bay tributaries. We expect the spawning period in those locations (lower Fox River, Oconto, Peshtigo and Menominee rivers) to last throughout the following two weeks. Please maintain a safe social distance if you plan to venture out to one of the spawning sites.


Lake sturgeon spawning infographic

Learn a little bit about this annual ritual [PDF]

Spawning at New London 2016

Sturgeon spawning

During mid-April to early May, Lake Sturgeon travel upstream to their spawning grounds, giving the public a prime opportunity to see these ancient ones up close.

Sturgeon spawning is dependent on water temperature and flow. During seasons when water flow is high and water temperatures rise slowly, spawning begins when the water temperature reaches 53 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, during seasons of low water flow and more rapid water temperature rise, spawning does not begin until water temperatures reach 58-59 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wolf River cam - underwater [exit DNR]

UWSP students with large sturgeon

Call the sturgeon hotline number for recorded daily updates: (920) 303-5444.

Sturgeon guard

Volunteer to guard sturgeon at their spawning sites on the Wolf River and protect the fish from poaching. Contact Barbara Helmick at 920-420-1140 for more information.

Lake sturgeon spawning/viewing locations on the Wolf River

Maps open to larger images. Sites are listed from North to South

Shawano Dam in Shawano - Parking available on the east side of the river at the end of Richmond Street.

Bamboo Bend at Shiocton - on County Highway 54. Parking available on the north side of County Hwy. 54.

Wolf River Sturgeon Trail (near New London) - about 2 miles west of New London on County Highway X. Parking available on the south side of the river about 1/2 mile from the spawning site