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How Will Walleye Bag Limits Affect Guides?Submitted: 03/20/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

How Will Walleye Bag Limits Affect Guides?
MINOCQUA - Fishing tourism puts money in many pocketbooks in the Northwoods. For those who depend on that revenue lowered walleye bag limits are a big concern.

Both the DNR and local Chippewa tribes say they want a better agreement when it comes to walleye and managing resources. Until that happens though, towns that depend on fishing tourism could take a hit.

The links between the lakes and the economy are complicated to say the least. Still for fishing guides like Russ and Jake Smith of Minocqua, the conditions of the lakes and the populations of fish have a clear economic impact.

"I can remember when all the motels were full," said Russ Smith, "And all the bait shops were very busy… restaurants. It's a snowballing effect. It affects everybody when the fish population and the bag limits are down and people go other places."

The science of caring for fisheries is much more complicated. Life would be easy if the lakes held an unlimited number of walleye. But DNR fisheries expert John Kubisiak knows those desires can't always be met.

"You can make some changes and some tweaks to it, and you can change which species is dominant in a lake, if you push hard enough, but the basic parameters, the basic ability of a lake to sustain fish populations is finite. It's not unlimited."

Kubisiak says lake ecosystems change. There are dozens of reasons why: weather patterns, temperatures, quality of vegetation, number and balance of other predatory fish, shoreline development, and the introduction of non-native species all have an affect.

Economies can change though, and the people of the Northwoods are resilient.

For guides like the Smiths, walleye aren't their only target.
"Pike, perch, crappie, musky, and small mouth bass, and sometimes we take some real little kids out for bluegill and panfish too," says Jack Smith.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

HAYWARD - Trail conditions for this year's American Birkebeiner race will be just about perfect.

Executive Director Ben Popp said there's about a six inch base, three inches of snow on top, and more snow on the way in the Hayward area. 

"The energy right now is just unreal. You can feel it here in Hayward and Cable and certainly around the world. Now with a gold medal, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, brings more excitement to not only this event, but the sport. So it's a really great time to be a cross country skier," said Popp.

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WAUSAU - Police arrested a Florence County man in connection to a Wausau homicide case this week.
Online court records show Lee Franck, 56 doesn't face homicide charges, but instead domestic abuse counts.

According to the Wausau Pilot and Review paper, the criminal complaint shows Franck got into an argument with Lyle Leith a few days before the 77-year-old was found dead at his Wausau home on Kickbusch Street.

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MINOCQUA - You don't need to wait for the grass to turn green for golfing.

Minocqua's Ice Golf is an end of season charity tournament coming up on March 3rd.

The tournament raised more than $18,000  last year for charities including the food pantry and Dr. Kate Hospice.

It has become a Northwoods tradition for some people.

"First year we had it, we had only like 35 golfers, now last year we had over 300 golfers," says Albee's owner Randy Albrecht.

If you don't have a group, they'll put into one.

After everyone is done putting, there will be dinner and a raffle.

For tickets and info call: Albee's Yacht Club at 715-356-1366 OR The Thirsty Whale at 715-356-7108.


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DNR hosts meeting about CWDSubmitted: 02/22/2018

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THE NORTHWOODS - A positive CWD test led to baiting and feeding bans starting in Lincoln and Langlade Counties and extending in Oneida, this month.

Hunters don't have a say, but the DNR took the first step to help the community understand the current CWD landscape. It hosted a meeting at Tomahawk high school on Wednesday.

About 50 people attended the meeting.

DNR wildlife biologist Janet Brehm gave a presentation. She said people were upset about the ban. Brehm emphasized that the ban was not put in place by the DNR, it's a part of Wisconsin state law. 

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WISCONSIN - A central Wisconsin state representative believes smaller communities in Wisconsin should not be treated as a welcome center for sex offenders, particularly sexual violent ones.

Democrat State Representative Katrina Shankland voted for a motion in the state budget to keep sex offenders in their original counties where the crimes took place.

However, Governor Scott Walker vetoed that motion in September because it go rid of the rule that keeps offenders away from schools, churches and other places children might be.

Now, there are three new pending sexual violent offenders waiting to be placed in rural areas of Portage County even though the crimes were committed elsewhere.

Shankland is trying once again to keep these offenders in their original home counties with a budget amendment that has already passed the assembly.

However, Governor Scott Walker vetoed that motion in September to keep offenders away from schools, churches and other places children might be.

Now, there are three new pending sexual violent offenders waiting to be placed in rural areas of Portage County even though the crimes were committed elsewhere.

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NORTHWOODS - Lakes and nature bring people from all over the country to the Northwoods during the summer.
Those same attractions get some people to stay here.
Home sales and home prices in the Northwoods went up in 2017.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports about 1,300 more homes sold last year than in 2016 in Wisconsin.
A local broker saw the increase firsthand.
"The markets that are going crazy right now are premium homes. The Minocqua chain is red hot, the Eagle River chain is pretty hot the Three Lakes chain is pretty hot and there are some chains of lakes that are less hot," said Coldwell Banker broker Jim Mulleady. 

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WOODRUFF - Highway 47 in Woodruff temporarily closed down this afternoon so a MedEvac helicopter could lift a man to the hospital after a snowmobile accident. 

A group of snowmobilers were on the trail next to Highway 47 just south of Walter Dr. when one of the snowmobilers hit a bump and was thrown off his sled. 

"They were all traveling the same direction, just hit one of the bumps in the trail and that's what caused everything to happen," said Woodruff Police Officer Jeremy Herrmann. 

The man was airlifted to a hospital and has unknown injuries. 

The crash happened around 4 p.m. 

Highway 47 was closed in both directions for nearly half an hour, causing a backup of cars. 

The DNR, Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Minocqua Police and Fire Departments, and Woodruff Police and Fire Departments all responded.

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