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NEWS STORIES

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


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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/03/2015

- Gogebic Taconite may have left northern Wisconsin – and any potential iron ore mine there—behind. But leaders in Iron County hope a new company might want to pick up on what Gogebic left behind.

- As wildfires rage on the west coast, students from a Northwoods school will race head on into them. We catch up with students from Blackwell to find out how they feel headed to help people from out of state.

- And a family in Antigo will soon get the keys to their new home. But first, they'll have to help build it. We'll meet them and the organization helping to make it all happen.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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CONOVER - The first stretch of the Conover-Phelps trail may be ready in the fall.

Crews started carving out the first part of the trail, a 3.2 mile stretch, last week.

The trail starts at Community Park in Conover and continues across County Highway K to Highway 45. It runs 
parallel to the highway along old railway beds. The trail will end at Muskrat Creek Road in Conover.

The trail is for non-motorized vehicles except for snowmobiles, which will be allowed in the winter. 

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MARATHON COUNTY - Warren Rydell doesn't mind the buzz or stingers.

"You don't need to be afraid of bees, you just have to love them for what they are," said Rydell.

Rydell has raised bees since the 1980s. Now with 35 colonies and thousands of bees in Marathon County, he's produced hundreds of pounds of honey just this year.

"We're having success with it," said Rydell, who's with the Marathon County Beekeepers Association. "A little at a time. You make mistakes, but it's getting better."

But here and across the country, bee populations have been on the decline for years. Bees are important pollinators for the environment, which is why the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will meet next week to devise a pollinator protection plan.

"Whether people know it or not, for every three tablespoons of food you eat, two of those table spoons are produced by bees, and without them, we're not going to be able to feed people," said Rydell.

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STEVENS POINT - A 58-year-old Portage County man accused of killing his wife and getting in a standoff with police is competent for trial.

That standoff happened in Bancroft, which is south of Plover, in June.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has asked Wisconsin's attorney general to take "immediate action" to protect ratepayers and workers from what the Republican presidential candidate calls "devastating impacts" of a new rule designed to cut greenhouse gases.

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ANTIGO - Excitement and joy filled faces in Antigo Monday afternoon.

Habitat for Humanity of Langlade County broke ground on their 9th home, but it will take some hands-on work before the family can move in.

David and Theresa Ferrel have been renting for the last 10 years. This will be the first home they will own.

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EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County might get a larger courthouse.

The Vilas County Board Public Property Committee met on Monday to discuss possible plans.

The county thinks it needs another courtroom to accomodate its second circuit court judge, which it asked the state for last year.

Vilas County Clerk David Alleman said the committee is in a preliminary conceptual design phase.

"There's actually a number of steps that have to go to the board," Alleman said. "The first being you have to present the plan to the board. They would have to approve going forward with that." 

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