Uniquely Wisconsin: Sturgeon Decoy

Published 02/06 2014 05:03PM

Updated 02/06 2014 05:06PM

CALUMET COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - Saturday is opening day for the Sturgeon spearing season. 


Lake Winnebago is 215 square miles.  A sturgeon spearing hole averages about 2 1/2 feet wide and six feet long.  So it helps to have some luck, skill and the right bait.



Mike Hostettler creates handcrafted sturgeon decoys to lure in those huge prehistoric.


"In every piece there is a fish," said Mike Hostettler, sturgeon decoy maker.


Mike chooses his piece wood carefully "You kind of have to look at the bend in it.  The curve of it.  It's got to be the right size."


Mike uses wood from a Sumac tree and follows the grain to discover the sturgeon within.


"I just let the grain do the talking.  It's a natural beauty grain.  some are light some are dark.  there are no two pieces of it that grows that are alike," explained Mike.


It takes about 3 to 4 hours for Mike to transform a piece of wood into a handcrafted wooden sturgeon decoy.


"All different colors, sizes and shapes," said Mike.


But they all have the same purpose-- to attract a prehistoric sturgeon to the spearers fishing hole.


"they're nosey.  They come right up sometimes and they'll bump it," said Mike.


Mike has been an avid sturgeon spear fisherman since he was young.


"Gives a lot of guys something to do and a lot to dream about.  It's a it's a family thing where the family can be all together," explained Mike.


He decided to make his own decoys "I lost them.  Years ago I would buy them for fourty bucks and I would lose them.   I got sick of losing them so I decided I would make some," said Mike.


It's a hobby he loves that gears him up for sturgeon spearing.


"When people get a fish with it they're so excited, they usually want another one like it in case they lose it.  It's fun to make things people like," said Mike.


Mike sells his sturgeon decoys for around 40 bucks and under.  You can find them at the Shanty Sport Shop in Stockbridge.



 If you know someone or something that is Uniquely Wisconsin.  Send Chelly an email at chelly.boutott@wearegreenbay.com

Copyright Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.