ORDER FROM THE WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESS
by Kathleen Schmitt Kline, Ronald M. Bruch, and Frederick P. Binkowski
with photographs by Bob Rashid
320 pages, 215 b/w and color photos, 2 maps, 8×10″ hardcover, ISBN 978-0-87020-431-9
Published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press
People of the Sturgeon tells the poignant story of an ancient fish. Wanton harvest and habitat loss took a heavy toll on these prehistoric creatures until they teetered on the brink of extinction. But in Wisconsin, lake sturgeon have flourished because of the dedicated work of Department of Natural Resources staff, university researchers, and a determined group of spearers known as Sturgeon For Tomorrow. Thanks to these efforts, spearers can still flock by the thousands to Lake Winnebago’s frozen expanse each winter to take part in a ritual rooted in the traditions of the Menominee and other Wisconsin Indians. In spring sturgeon enthusiasts line east-central Wisconsin riverbanks to observe–and protect–the massive fish as they spawn. Ultimately, 100 years of sturgeon management on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago has produced the world’s largest and healthiest lake sturgeon population–and may hold answers for struggling sturgeon populations elsewhere.
Through a fascinating collection of images, stories, and interviews, People of the Sturgeon chronicles the history of this remarkable fish (which can live for a century and grow to 300 pounds) and the cultural traditions it has spawned. The authors introduce a colorful cast of characters, from conservationists to spear makers to decoy carvers–many with a good fish tale to tell. Color photos by the late Bob Rashid and vintage images from the Wisconsin Historical Society evoke both the magical and the mundane. Weaving together myriad voices and examining the sturgeon’s profound cultural impact, the authors reveal how a diverse group of people are now joined together as “people of the sturgeon.”
AWARDS for People of the Sturgeon include a National Indie Excellence Award, a Midwest Book Award, a Gold Great Lakes Award from Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Ellis/Henderson Outdoor Writing Award for Wisconsin writers, and a Gold PubWest Book Design Award.
Kathleen Schmitt Kline is an outreach coordinator 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 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences and a UW Sea Grant aquaculture specialist. He has been raising and researching lake sturgeon since 1979.
Bob Rashid (1949-2008) was a photographer/writer whose books include Gone Fishing and Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads, which inspired a Wisconsin Public Television documentary.
Watch a video presentation about sturgeon by author Kathy Kline at http://video.wpt2.org/video/1539150745
For more information about sturgeon, visit Wisconsin’s Water Library.
Publication #: WISCU-B-09-001