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People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish

People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish
People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish
Hardcover: $29.95
320 pages, including photos and illus., 8.5 x 10"
ISBN: 9780870204319

Published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press

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Product Details
By Kathleen Schmitt Kline, Ron Bruch, & Fred Binkowski
Photographs by Bob Rashid


Lake sturgeon—ancient fish native to the Great Lakes region that can grow to be more than six feet long—have teetered on the brink of extinction since the late nineteenth century. But in Wisconsin, careful management for over 100 years has allowed one population to thrive. People of the Sturgeon is a history of the cultures surrounding lake sturgeon in Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago region, told by a fascinating collection of photos, artifacts, and a few good fish tales.

From some of the earliest inhabitants of Wisconsin, the Menominee Indian Tribe, to the spearers who flock to frozen Lake Winnebago for the annual sturgeon spearing season, people have always been drawn to this ancient fish. While overfishing, dams and pollution nearly wiped out other populations of lake sturgeon, Winnebago sturgeon have survived and flourished because of the dedicated efforts of state managers, university researchers, and a determined group of spearers known as Sturgeon for Tomorrow. This is the only population of sturgeon in the world to have been nearly extirpated, then resurrected through a community-wide effort of people who are now joined together as People of the Sturgeon.


Kathleen Schmitt Kline is a science writer at the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, which supports research, education, and outreach dedicated to the stewardship and sustainable use of the nation’s Great Lakes and ocean resources. 

Ronald M. Bruch is Natural Resources Region Team Supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Resources, and the lead sturgeon biologist for the Lake Winnebago system. 

Frederick P. Binkowski is a senior scientist at the Wisconsin Great Lakes WATER Institute and the aquaculture advisory services specialist with the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute. He has been raising and researching lake sturgeon since 1979.