LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Major changes in walleye bag limits in Northern Wisconsin could cause controversy. We spoke to a local tribal leader to understand why the tribes want this change.
Chairman Maulson of the Lac du Flambeau tribe stressed resources and communication, much more than walleye.
"Our thought is to make sure that the resources aren't being harmed… the state DNR always claim the fact that they're doing the right thing by the proper protocol. And we're saying that that protocol, we're being left out," Tom Maulson, President of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.
Other major concerns Maulson named are pollution from mining, motor trolling for fish, and wolf hunting. He says the tribes have not been included in these decisions by the state.
"Let's get together and find out what the issues are really all about," he says, "That's something that I guess we're not really taken seriously …"
This year 5 Chippewa tribes reduced their walleye bag limits to one per day on 197 lakes.
The Lac du Flambeau tribe lowered all but one of their 233 lakes to a 2 walleye per day limit.
This is a drastic change from recent years in the ceded territories, but Chairman Maulson seems to think it could change again.
"If they want more fish, then let's make sure that there's fish a plenty out there. Let's get together let's make it happen. Does it take a lot of money? Hell no it doesn't. It takes a lot of hard work by governing bodies, putting their people out there on the lakes and gathering eggs this spring.... We're going to get through this, I can tell you that," he said, "We're going to come to some type of solution that will bring the State to the table more, and we've got to talk about this."
CONOVER - June 22 makes it the 14th day of rainfall for us this month, and it's not been very convenient.
People all over northcentral Wisconsin have had to deal with storm damage or flooding in some way.
Pioneer Lake in Conover has had a particularly tough time with flooding not only because of the rain, but also because of a dam upstream.
"We've got 20 piers here, and they're floating away, they're underwater," said Maple View Resort and Campground Owner Tony Osiecki. "I've never seen it like this in fifty years."
Osiecki blames the deluge of rain we've gotten in the past few weeks for the flooding in his resort. But he and many others on the lake also blame a dam upstream.
It's located on the southwest side of South Twin Lake in Phelps. It's owned by Wausau-based Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, and it's meant to maintain the levels of the Twin Lakes. Peter Hansen, the company's Vice President of Operation, admits they are releasing a lot of water--because they are federally required to.
"We are releasing an amount of water that is more than the 500-year rain event," Hansen said. "That means the rain that we've had, according to our calculations, is only supposed to happen every 500 years...We're doing everything within our federal license to lower the water level on Twin."
Downstream of the dam is the Twin River, which flows into Pioneer Lake. Hansen says the company is not responsible for what happens downstream.
That leaves some people frustrated
"[People] have been calling wanting to know what we're doing about the water and what they've got to do to fix it," said Pioneer Lake Association President Terry Wright. "If it's affecting us we have to have somebody we can call to change it."
In the meantime, Osiecki deals with the flooding.
"Move everything back a bit and try to get someone to close the dam and compromise," Osiecki said.
Hansen says the company has been able to cut back on the water release in the past few days, but with more rain in the forecast, that might change. He says Pioneer Lake does not have a controlled structure to help with the lake's water levels.
RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.
There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.
"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.
All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.
"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."
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