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 busyÖ 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.
RHINELANDER - For better or worse, drivers in Rhinelander will get an extra week to use the Davenport Street bridge. The city's contractor for its downtown reconstruction project delayed closing the bridge for repairs to May 8th.
Crews first planned to close the bridge in mid-April, then pushed that back to May 1 due to weather. Now, weather has further delaying the month-long repairs to the concrete decking.
This is part of a larger project to finish up the downtown reconstruction, which began in March 2016. The city reconstructed 21 blocks, replacing underground utilities and modernizing the downtown area.
ANTIGO - Pushups, wall sits, and sit ups may sound like a tough workout for most of us. But dozens of kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Langlade County did that and more as part of a national fitness competition Friday afternoon.
MINOCQUA - Police officers often meet people on their worst days: after a death, crime, or other bad situations. ¬†The Minocqua Police Department hopes some unpaid additions to their staff can help victims, families, and officers cope with those situations a little better.
The department is looking to add a team of clergy members to form a chaplain program. ¬†The chaplains would be on call and show up to scenes when needed. ¬†Chief David Jaeger had been considering the idea for a while when he heard about police in Oneida County using the same program.
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