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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RHINELANDER - The ground won't thaw for another month or so, but you can start planning your garden now.

You'll have to wait until mid-May to plant flowers, but you can get away with some vegetable seeds.

Bare root plants are also a good option for early-spring.

Those include apple trees, blueberry and raspberry bushes.

"We can help out here when you come out and make sure you get everything you need to get started.

It's mostly getting it established in the ground and you can just let it grow, says Beth Hanson.

Hanson Garden Village's Spring Preview is this Saturday and open to the public.

If you want to find out more about their spring planting classes, click below.

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MADISON - The entire state of Wisconsin will be placed under quarantine for emerald ash borer.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced the quarantine will take effect March 30th.

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MADISON - The Wisconsin Senate has unanimously approved an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan that would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison by 2021 and replace it with smaller regional facilities.

The Senate voted without any debate Tuesday to pass the plan, which largely mirrors what the Assembly unanimously approved last month.

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EAGLE RIVER - Jesse Kuczmarski always dreamed of owning his own body shop. His wife, Chantel, thought it would be neat to work with her husband.

Both now have what they want. The Kuczmarskis became the new owners of Accent Auto Body in Eagle River in October.

Jesse works on cars, while Chantel handles social media, taxes, and administration.

"The first day that we worked together, we looked at each other, and we just thought, wow, this is just so amazing to be able to work together," Chantel said. "It was so peaceful in the shop."

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RHINELANDER - Looking back on his 28 years as airport director, Joe Brauer says he has a lot to be proud of. 

"When we got the disabled passenger lift, the non-motorized one, we were very, very proud of that," said Brauer, who's worked as the airport director for 28 years. He's also been in the airline business for 20 years. 

Now, the longtime Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport director will be passing things off to a familiar face. 

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ARBOR VITAE - You won't want to wear your best clothes to one race in May.

Minocqua's Color Run Fundraiser is a 3K and 5K race for Arbor Vitae-Woodruff and MJ1 schools.

The race is one of the schools' biggest fundraisers for field trips, additional school supplies and equipment.

The Color Run raised almost $20,000 last year.

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MINOCQUA - People don't often realize what is going through police officers' heads when they arrive on a scene. Whether it's a traffic stop or a robbery, a lot of training and preparation comes before an officer can respond. The Minocqua Police Department holds a Citizen's Academy to show people in the community just what it takes to be a police officer. 

Michelle Littleton enrolled in the Citizen's Academy four years ago to see what a day in the life of an officer is really like. 

"I wanted to see behind the scenes to what they're doing each and every day," said Littleton, of Hazelhurst.
She learned there is a lot more to an officer's job than the public might realize. 

"They have a small window of opportunity to take care of themselves and protect themselves," said Littleton.
Now in its fourth year, the Citizen's Academy gives people in the community a hands on learning experience with situations like traffic stops, OWIs, and defense and arrest tactics. 

The eight-week course is a shorter version of what new officers learn in the Police Academy. Sometimes it can help people find out if a career in law enforcement is something they want to pursue.

David Wellman decided to take this year's course to see how law enforcement in Minocqua differs from in a big city. 

"I wanted to see if the smaller town police the training is the same, how they interact with the public and how things are done on a day to day basis up here with a smaller department," said Wellman, of Hazelhurst. 

Tuesday's lesson showed the students how dispatch works and how officers respond to a traffic stop. 

One of Littleton's favorite lessons was about how officers utilize their guns in a dangerous situation. 

"They set up a scenario, which was like a movie screen, where you'd actually walk into a scene and you had to determine whether or not to use lethal force," said Littleton. 

While the Citizen's Academy helps people understand what a day in the life of an officer looks like, it's also beneficial for the teachers to meet members of the community.

"It also helps me and some of the other officers. I get to meet some of the people I might not get to meet on a regular basis. It builds that trust and community relationships a lot more, I think," said Minocqua Police Officer Daniel Littleton.

The academy is held every year from March until May. Classes meet Tuesdays from 6-10 p.m. for eight weeks. 

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