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that I was living on the ice and

I have to admit I felt awesome.

Yesterday there were times

that I felt beat up. I am alone on

this trip other than Ruby. I have

no radio and no windows.

What I can say is that the

longer this trip lasted the more

I got into it, and with time was

standing over my hole like

a cougar in a tree waiting to

pounce on a deer or in this case

a sturgeon.

I came up with all kinds of

ideas for next year and that is

about all a guy can hope for

from a trip where you are alone

and do not fill your tag.

I had no cares that I did not

throw my spear and my quarry

gets to live another year!

Sunset

Hey guess what? I remem-bered

remem-bered

to buy a sturgeon spear-ing

spear-ing

tag this year by the Oct. 31

deadline.

I have messed up on this

simple procedure in the past,

and with the shanty count down

10 percent for this year (2018

season), perhaps the deadline

should be Dec. 31.

Anyways, I have to admit

I was really excited for this

year’s experience. I would be

camped in my shanty (Eskimo

Fat Shack) with tarps over it to

make sure it is dark inside from

Friday to Sunday. I was really

excited to look at a bathtub with

dark coffee in it for two days.

One of the main requirements

of being a sturgeon spearer is

to be an eternal optimist and be

ready if you get your chance.

Friday, Feb. 9

High 15, Low Minus-4

Though I had my chainsaw and

chest waders in my truck I made

a first-time choice this year to

pay to get my 6-by-3-foot hole

cut and I was pleased with that

decision. Murky water on Lake

Winnebago would literally put

a cloud on about 4,300 sturgeon

spearers opening day.

By reaching out to some locals

I was told where there was a bit

more clarity than much of the

lake had.

A bonus would be that I met

James Tease, Ross Schmidt and

a couple of their buddies. These

guys are very much into spear-ing

spear-ing

and it was fun to text them

all weekend and hear how they

were having the same luck that I

was having. These guys cut my

hole for $25, and Ross showed

me a video of him jumping into

his hole for luck.

Tonight I once again found

myself setting up camp in the

dark. With the hole in my floor,

a table, two propane lanterns

hooked to 20-pound cylinders

and a cot, spare room was at a

minimum.

In a rush to get my work done I

accidentally knocked one of my

lanterns into Lake Winnebago.

Just like that I went from a peak

of five functional lanterns last

July to one as of tonight. I did

catch my lantern after it hit the

water, so no I did not pollute.

Saturday, Feb. 10

High 16, Low 3

Yesterday and last night I

tried tip-up fishing and had zero

action. This morning I have

to tell you, like everyone else

on Winnebago and a couple

of upriver lakes, I was really

excited.

In all of my years of spearing I

have only thrown the spear once

and I did get that fish but what

a thrill it is to have that oppor-tunity.

oppor-tunity.

In reality this morning I was

sitting over 10 feet of water. I

had white steel siding on the

bottom of the lake which really

helps to see the dark body of a

sturgeon, and all you can do is

be observant and hope you get

your chance.

The season began at 7 a.m.

and closed for the day at 1 p.m.

(perhaps that could be increased

by an hour as well) but there

was not one minute where I was

not into it.

When 1 p.m. arrived, 83 out

of roughly 4,400 of us on Win-nebago

Win-nebago

had filled their tag.

Sunday, Feb. 11

High 22, Low 5

When I started this adven-ture

adven-ture

there was 22 inches of ice

underneath my shack and by the

time I pulled it today there was

12. The heater and lights melt

ice and puts one heck of a lot of

moisture in the air. Today would

be the sixth day out of seven

The hunt for a sturgeon

WJILDERNESS

OURNAL

Mark Walters • OUTDOOR COLUMNIST

Dave Hanson Agency

893-8406

1407 Eastern Ave., Plymouth
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