Every year in February there is a Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season.
Around here it is an event that is just about as big and important as the Deer Gun Season. The Wisconsin Wolf River system connecting Lakes Winnebago, and the upper river lakes of Poygan, Winneconnie and Butte Des Morts has a self sustaining population of these prehistoric fish.
Spearers on Lake Winnebago speared 1,513 fish. 95 of these fish (6.3%) tipped the scales at 100 pounds or larger, which is the most fish over 100 pounds ever registered in a season. 320 fish were speared on the up river lakes. The are harvest caps that are set in place before the season and the season is closed when those caps are 90% filled. The up river lakes and Lake Winnebago are controlled separately. This year the season was February 8th until February 23rd or when the harvest caps were reached. A total of 11,823 licenses were sold for the 2014 spearing season on Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes, 468 licenses. The ice this year was very good compared to the last several years and with the early heavy snow cover little algae, the water clarity was very good, most claims were good viewing to 12 feet down. The licenses for the up river lakes are decided by a lottery system.
I myself do not spear, I have tried it but it just isn't one of those things that greatly appeals to me. Sitting there staring through a 2 foot by 4 foot hole in the ice, waiting for a sturgeon to swim by just didn't keep my interest. The hole may not exceed a total of 48 square feet.
I do however like to check out the registration centers where people come in to register their fish. Spearers can spear from 7:00am to 1:00pm. Any sturgeon must be registered the day it is speared.
I could see myself getting into this as something get outdoors and have fun with but like you I could leave it alone. I guess its different if you were raised up in a family where it is a big yearly event like the gun season you mentioned. Either way it looks like good fun with friends and family.