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Tribal Leaders Hope to Avoid Backlash at Musky TournamentSubmitted: 03/08/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Stories about spear fishing and tribal rights generate a lot of feedback. Some of it is so negative and inflammatory we have to delete it from our Facebook page.

Lac du Flambeau leaders hope to avoid that reaction at an upcoming Musky Tournament.

Fishing tournaments are a way of life for many in the Northwoods. Sports anglers take millions of fish from the lakes each year. In comparison native spearers take a much smaller harvest, but they face extensive criticism for it.

It's likely native people have enjoyed a friendly competition since the invention of the spear thousands of years ago. They hold small tournaments often, and often their pictures end up on websites condemning them, like www.musky.com/2012Single/FisheryRape .

This weekend musky spearers will hold a tournament in Lac du Flambeau. Tribal Chairman Tom Maulson wants Native Spearers to feel the same pride as anglers who show off their catch.

"This is a time that our people can be proud of what they do. And they shouldn't have to be scrutinized by a newspaper or a musky group or any type of fishing group out there… We don't go out there and protest their tournaments," said Tom Maulson, President of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

In the 6 to 7 hours of the tournament, Maulson thinks some spearers won't catch any fish. Some others he says might catch one or two.

There will be Tribal and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission officials monitoring the tournament.


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WHITE LAKE - After this week it may seem that spring is a long way off, butsome people in northern Wisconsin are still hopeful. 

People are especially hopeful in White Lake.  Village leaders put Iron Mike out on the lake on Wednesday. 

That means you can officially start guessing when the ice will melt—and when the metal-man will fall through it. 

"Norman Mike Berg is the one who came up with the idea," said Chris Oatman, a White Lake Village Board Trustee. "And Iron Mike is named after Mike Berg. And Mike was a native of White Lake and just so active in the community, for veterans and the school and so many things." 

After a 50-year hiatus, this is the second annual contest the village is hosting. Last year Iron Mike fell through on April 2. The winner got a $500 prize. Money raised from ticket sales also helps support the local VFW. 

"It's really exciting, the people really get into it," Oatman said. "The tickets are 5 dollars and basically the format for this year is you have to guess the day, and then you have to put down a time. So the closest one to the day without going over wins the prize." 

Iron Mike is one of many celebrations White Lake has this year. The village is celebrating it's centennial. The village will also have its annual Fishing Derby on Saturday as well. 

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