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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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 02/19/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Yesterday James Lussier who was being searched by police statewide was found and arrested in Oshkosh. He is one of five men facing homicide charges in connection with the murder of Wayne Valliere Jr. of Lac du Flambeau. We'll bring you more details on what happens next for Lussier.

Rhinelander residents will be electing a new Mayor on April 3rd. We talk to two of the three candidates running for the position.

And we'll show you a new system Nicolet College is using in place of textbooks to help students cut their costs.

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

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OSHKOSH - On Sunday night, police in Oshkosh ended what became a statewide search for a Northwoods homicide suspect.

The Oshkosh Police Department arrested 19-year-old James Lussier, the last of the five men accused of killing Wayne Valliere Jr. near Mercer and hiding his body. Earlier this month, Lussier tried to turn himself in, but was let go on an officer's error in Vilas County.

In a press release, the Oshkosh Police Department said it made the arrest at about 7:30 p.m. Lussier is currently in the Winnebago County Jail.

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RHINELANDER - Butterfinger, Black Forest, and Snickerdoodle flavors fill the cases at the newest bakery in Rhinelander.

Twin sisters Brooke Strong and Carmen Stamper own BC Cakes & More.

They just opened a second location on Brown Street a couple of weeks ago, but the ladies began re-inventing

flavors a few years ago at their Crandon location.

"Being able to try new things all the time with the flavors and getting suggestions from people," says Carmen Stamper.

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RHINELANDER - You don't get to choose your mayor every year. Rhinelander's Dick Johns has been mayor for more than a decade. But this spring someone will replace him.

Alex Young, Chris Frederickson, and Scott Counter will be running in the general election in April.

Alex Young would like to think he's learned a thing or two about running a city.

"I recall being somewhat overwhelmed when I first got elected," said Young.

Young has served on Rhinelander's City Council for 13 years, while working as a computer software engineer. 

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PHILLIPS - Treating roads becomes more of a challenge when ice starts to build up on them.

Price County Highway Commissioner Don Grande tried to get a jump on the weather.

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RHINELANDER - Nicolet College doesn't ever want a student to choose between buying a textbook or paying the bills.

But when one textbook can cost up to $300, it's a choice many students face. 

"We don't want their grades to suffer. We don't want them to have to make that choice [between] do we take a 'C' or do we get an 'A'? Because we're going to have the materials first day of class now because they're free. They're right there," said Open Education and Instructional Resources manager Cindy Domaika. 

Nicolet College is now offering 22 textbook-free courses. 

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EAGLE RIVER - You probably did something wrong if you ended up snowmobiling with police.

But Monday, dozens of riders invited DNR wardens and police to ride with them for a little fun and safety advice.

"I'm living in the Northwoods, this is living in my paradise," said Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club President Howard Wolf.

Wolf was pleased to share "his paradise" with dozens of people Monday.

"God, I just feel so happy," said Wolf.


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