We didn't have a specific itinerary for the next day. We decided on Fond du Lac for no particular reason and headed that way. We got into town and MAN do they have some nice buildings! We decided to drive around Lake Winebago before we explored Fond du Lac so we headed north. As we occasionally got close to the shore of the lake we spotting little shanties on the ice. I was amazed at how many they were. I assumed they were for ice fishing but a little research showed that it was STURGEON SPEARING SEASON! I know, I had no idea either. We pulled into a supper club that was open thinking we'd have lunch but it was PACKED TO THE GILLS (heh). It turns out that the registration stations for the sturgeon spearing are all held at supper clubs or bars along the lake. They measure and document the sturgeon. These things are ENORMOUS. Yes, I know that's a lot of capitals but damn, it was utterly fascinating. There were people driving all over the iced lake in trucks, snowmobiles and ATV's. We drove on, eventually stopping in a bar that was set right on the water. From our spot at the bar we could watch people driving in off the lake. It was hopping.
The more I read about it the more fascinated I was. It's one of the few spots in the country that allows sturgeon spearing and it is a beloved ritual for thousands of folks. I totally went down the rabbit hole reading about this. Here's an ad from a 2015 event at a place we passed. It gives you a sense of the festival feel of it all.
It turns out there's even a sturgeon spearing documentary which I forced Ernie to watch on Amazon the other night!
We were so fascinated by all the activity on the lake that we didn't really explore Osh Kosh or Appleton. We were smitten with the area though so hope to go back sometime.
The eastern side of the lake was more sparsely settled but had some lovely spots. I loved the beautiful doors on this little building.
By the time we made it back to Fond du Lac we were fading. We decided to save downtown for the next day and headed back to our hotel. We made do with the hotel bar which was strangely bright and loud but we were too tired to explore further. We had a drink and ordered some dinner to take back to our room. It was a good day.