Sturgeon Hole Cutting Begins - WBAY

Sturgeon Hole Cutting Begins

Lake Winnebago -

There are now less than 48 hours until sturgeon spearing season begins and today was the first time spearers could get onto the ice to cut holes. Not only did people find themselves dealing with thick ice, but single digit temperatures and a howling wind were a challenge too.

Sturgeon spearing is a Wisconsin winter tradition, so is cutting your spearing hole.

"We get pretty excited," says Daryn Woelfel. "It's just like deer hunting, opening day you look forward to it, all the prep ahead of time to get ready for it and picking out your spot and hopefully you pick the right spot anyway."

That's what dozens of spearers were doing today, the first of two days holes could be cut, prior to the season opening on Saturday morning.

Daryn Woelfel says, "My dad and a couple of uncles and some friends we'll all be out here, so we're cutting a couple of holes and we've got a couple to go yet."

The early winter that brought prolonged cold spells has left about two feet of ice on most parts of the lake. A challenge to get through for some like Brandon Houg.

He says, "Just cutting one hole took me almost a half hour."

It's an easier task for lake veterans like Steve Woelfel.

According to him, "We have a long enough bar on the saw that we can cut through at an angle. I can cut up to 35 inches on a 15 degree angle."

In addition to battling thicker than normal ice some say the elements out on Lake Winnebago are making it a little harder to work as well.

Says Brandon Houg, "It's cold. My saw, I didn't even have it out of the water before I got it to the truck and it froze up already. It's going to be tough going the rest of the day."

And while it may be tough, those out cutting holes today says it will be worthwhile come Saturday, especially since some have already been peaking down their sturgeon holes and they like what they see.

Adds Marv Woelfel, "I could see bottom where I was so that ain't too bad. It's a good start."

A good start to hopefully spear the big one.

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