LAKE WINNEBAGO - As the shanties went out two weekends ago, sturgeon spearers were optimistic. But as the 16 day season wore on, hopes began to fade.
It was pretty ugly out here for most of it. Dirty, dirty, dirty," said Lefty Renderson of Appleton, exiting the ice off of Waverly Beach in Menasha.
"Today is the last day of the 2013 sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago. It's drug on. It's been a long season," said DNR Sturgeon Biologist Ryan Koenigs.
Koenigs says despite seeing record fish sizes, the number of sturgeon harvested this year is nearly an exact match of last year's totals.
In 2012, 566 total fish were harvested from the Winnebago system. This year, spearers topped that by just one, with 567. Koenigs says it's the second year in a row for low totals.
"We've seen some really nice fish harvested, but overall with the poor water clarity, the harvest has been down," said Koenigs.
Though 2013 was a slow season out on the ice, many spearers still got out their shanties on the last day of the season, enjoying each other's company and the last day of sturgeon spearing.
"It's a remarkable creature, and just the fact that we can go out and spear as many fish as they do even in a down years, that doesn't happen anywhere else in the world," said Koenigs.
And despite not catching anything, many fishermen still say the annual tradition was worth it.
"It was awesome! Every day," said Renderson.
Plus, there's always hope for catching one of the prehistoric fish next year.
"They're still all out there," said Renderson.
This season set a record for large fish harvested: 39 of the sturgeon caught weighed more than 100 pounds.
After almost 80 years, a piece of naval history is on its way home. A model of the Japanese luxury liner Hikawa Maru is being packed up in Manitowoc and returned to Japan.
Visitors to Green Bay's Neville Public Museum will soon see hours slashed. The county-owned attraction is cutting access starting the first of the year.
An 11-foot-long model of the Japanese passenger liner Hikawa Maru is being sent back to Japan after 34 years at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.
Area volunteers are making a difference in the community this holiday season. At this time of the year, many people are looking for ways to help their neighbors. The Salvation Army is one of the many places where you can do just that.
For the second year in a row, St. Norbert College could house overflow of homeless people from the St. John the Evangelist shelter in Green Bay.
A memorial fund has been created for a Grand Chute firefighter killed in a weekend car crash.