Eastern Wisconsin lakes such as Lake Winnebago have lots of sturgeon this year.

And they're among a few places in the United States where fishermen can legally spear the prehistoric fish because of the large population.

Spearing season started Feb. 14. The cap of about 2,000 fish could be hit as early as Friday.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Senior Fisheries Biologist Ryan Koenigs (KAY'-nigs) attributed the numbers and size to protective efforts, including the agency's management practices, over decades.

He says there were still older, long fish this year, but they weren't as heavy because their fattiest food source was limited.

The agency sold a record number of licenses, at more than 13,100. Koenigs attributes that to last year's successful year motivating more spearers.