ADVERTISEMENT

Award-winning director to show film in Fond du Lac

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Associated Press
  • February 4, 2014 - 12:20 PM

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — A documentary made by an Emmy award-winning director that shows two families' long histories catching the elusive and primitive Lake Sturgeon will premiere at Fond du Lac's Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts Thursday.

The Reporter Media reported (http://fondul.ac/1bqIXhj ) Tuesday that Emmy award-winning director Steve Boettcher's film, "The Frozen Chosen," features the Muche and Schumacher families. Both are from the Fond du Lac area and have storied pasts spearing sturgeons.

The Schumachers are led by 96-year-old Al Schumacher, who Boettcher said has been hunting the fish since the Great Depression. Boettcher is a five-time Emmy award winner.

Anglers sometimes spend years searching for the fish, which can weigh hundreds of pounds. Boettcher, an Appleton native, said his film focuses on state agencies' attempts to protect the species.

"The likelihood of seeing a fish is about 10 percent," Boettcher said. "There's a guy who's sat there for 20 years who hasn't seen a fish. How do you keep your attention after 20 years?"

Wisconsin allows residents to catch more than 2,000 sturgeons from Lake Winnebago and more than 400 from Upriver Lakes during the two-week spearing season. The state sold nearly 12,000 licenses for the 2014 season, a 6.1 percent decline from 2013, according to data from the Department of Natural Resources.

The Lake Winnebago system is considered "very stable," and it has one of the largest self-sustaining Lake Sturgeon populations in the world, fisheries biologist Karl Scheidegger said. Female Lake Sturgeons can live to 83 years old and can reach 7 feet long. Male fish live up to 60 years and grow up to 6 feet long.

The premiere comes two days before the opening of sturgeon spearing season Saturday.

"It's like 'Fight Club,' pulling a 200 to 300-pound creature out of the lake," said Boettcher, who said he saw about six fish speared during his two years filming. "We were there at that 'moment.'"

© 2014 Star Tribune