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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: 05/21/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The nice weather we've been having will get some people in the mood for a bonfire or a BBQ, but the fire danger is still very high for much of the Northwoods. We talk to a local paramedic and a meat market employee about the dangers and how to stay safe while grilling.

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And we'll show you how the city of Rhinelander is letting residents "Walk with the Mayor."

We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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EAGLE RIVER - City water customers in Eagle River will see the effects of a brutally cold winter in 2014 four years later.

Starting this month, water bills will increase by an average of 50 percent. Cold weather in 2014 forced the city to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair water main freezes and breaks.

Low water bill revenues couldn't keep up.

"That winter of 2014 was probably the straw that kind of broke the camel's back that finally said, hey, you guys need to look at a rate increase," said city utility manager Pat Weber.

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WATERSMEET - With every species of insect Rachel Hovel finds, she gets a better picture of the water quality at Wildcat Falls near Watersmeet. 

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A man came in, showed his gun, and demanded money. The employee handed over the cash.

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RHINELANDER - With sunny skies and warm temperatures people might want to get outside and start grilling or barbecuing.

But many counties in the Northwoods still face a very high risk for fire danger.

"It can start out as a little fire on the side of the garage and you turn away to call your dog from across the street and look back and your whole house is on fire," said Rhinelander firefighter paramedic Nicholas Heise.

Heise said the department has been busy this spring responding to more fires than usual.

"This year has been a pretty dry (season) as far as seasons go," said Heise.

That means fires will burn more rapidly and aggressively in high risk areas.

"I expect these fires to be very rapid and quickly escalate," said Heise.

Heise said some of the calls have been people grilling or barbecuing in their backyard.

"If you are grilling outside just make sure to keep a close eye on the charcoal grill," said Oneida County Deputy Sheriff Michael Baran.

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