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Low walleye a boon for bass fishermen in MinocquaSubmitted: 06/13/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Chain of Lakes historically offered great walleye fishing.

But that's changed over the last few years.

Walleye population in that area has gone down.

At the same time, the bass population has taken off in those lakes.

Scientists think those numbers might have something to do with one another.

"There is the potential, not a sole factor, but the potential, that high abundances of bass - they're a top predator, just like walleyes, muskies, and northern pike - high abundances of bass may be having a predatory impact on young walleye," says DNR Northern Fisheries Supervisor Steve Avelallemant.

That's good news for bass fishermen.

Their season opens Saturday.

On the Minocqua Chain, there's no minimum length for bass.

Some think a cold spring could be bad news for bass fishermen.

Other professional guides are confident in a good season.

"A lot of people have the stigma that when the water's cold, you can't catch bass, and that's not true. We've proven that with cold weather in the fall and cold weather in the spring," says Scott Biscobing of Hodag Guide Service.

Most Northwoods lakes outside of the Minocqua Chain have a 14 inch minimum for bass.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MINOCQUA - A Green Bay man died in a snowmobile crash in Minocqua Tuesday night.

The Minocqua Police Department says the crash happened at 7:13 p.m. on Lower Kaubashine Road near the intersection of Camp Nine Road and Cedar Falls Drive.

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MOLE LAKE - When you drive through Mole Lake, you'll notice a lot of solar panels.

It's part of a project tribal leaders have worked on for more than a year, and they hope it will save the community a lot in energy costs.

Tribal leaders applied and received a couple million dollars in grants from the U.S. Energy Department and the Housing and Urban Development Department. Then they started working with a Pewaukee-based company called SunVest Solar, Inc., and started installing the panels on homes and businesses in 
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Now, they are almost done.

According to SunVest Solar, this is the largest per capital solar array installation in the Midwest. Tribal Administrator Jeff Ackley, Jr., says 50 homes and 17 businesses have solar panels.

"Most of the state of Wisconsin has less than one percent of its generation coming from solar and now you have a community where almost 50 percent of the homes get their power from the sun," said Adam Gusse, head of operations at SunVest Solar, Inc.

"I thought it would put us on the map," Ackley said.

Project leaders think the panels can produce up to 85 percent of power in homes and between 20 and 60 percent for businesses.

"It will be significant savings all around for the community," Ackley said. "From rough crunchings of numbers we're looking at probably saving between $60,000 and $80,000 per year on energy usage."

The first batch of panels turned on in November, and some people say they've already seen the savings.

"Some are seeing up to $100 in savings just after that first month," Gusse said. "So they'll see much more per month savings as they go on."

Gusse said the panels don't produce as much power in the winter as they will in the summer, but residents still save money.

Tribal leaders can apply for more grants to put panels on more homes. 

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TOMAHAWK - High schoolers in Tomahawk sat across from local business professionals on Wednesday, answering questions in an interview setting.

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The Packaging Corporation of America lowered the water level 14 feet to repair the dam there.

PCA owns the dam that controls the flowage.

The DNR recommended emptying the flowage a quarter inch per hour, which comes to about six inches per day.

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That's because a deer was found with chronic wasting disease in Three Lakes. Now, hunters and the DNR want to find a way to stop the spread.

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