Sea Grant News Release - Sturgeon Thunder

 sea grant logo 

                                                                                                          Feb. 1, 2013

For More Information: 
Moira Harrington, (608) 263-5371,
Aaron Conklin, (608) 262-6393,
One Week to Sturgeon Season on Ice Touched by Record Warmth, Frigid Temps
Hear the Sounds of Sturgeon “Thunder”

Wisconsin’s up-and-down weather this week has led to shifting ice conditions on the Lake Winnebago system just a week prior to the lake sturgeon spearing season, which kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Solid surface or slushy spots aside, the sounds of the annual rite can be accessed at any time through the Wisconsin Sea Grant-produced audiobook “People of the Sturgeon, Wisconsin’s Love Affair With an Ancient Fish.”

One of the book’s segments includes a recording of sturgeon “thunder” ( For years, those along waters populated by sturgeon reported mysterious sounds and vibrations. Native-Americans in the area long associated this “thunder” with the onset of spring sturgeon spawning runs.

When recording material for the audiobook, Sea Grant’s Acoustic Specialist Chris Bocast  captured the thunder sound and is now conducting biological examinations and collecting detailed field recordings of the infrasonic sounds of this ancient fish that can reach a weight of 300 pounds. This size is one of the reasons why researchers believe the fish achieve a sound so low that most of its energy escapes normal human hearing.

Overall, the audiobook tells the story of world’s largest self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon, located in Wisconsin. Whether it’s the hunt for sturgeon from the frozen surface of a lake, a decoy carver and his saw or a Native-American pow-wow celebrating the sturgeon, the excerpted sounds can be heard at

A portion of the book’s sales goes to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sturgeon management program. Downloadable copies are available at ( for $14.95 or a four-CD set can be purchased at for $34.95.

# # #
Conceived in 1966, Sea Grant is a national network of 33 university-based programs of research, outreach, and education for enhancing the practical use and conservation of coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources to create a sustainable economy and environment. The National Sea Grant Network is a partnership of participating coastal states, private industry, and the National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Return to News Archive is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.