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Low walleye a boon for bass fishermen in MinocquaSubmitted: 06/13/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Low walleye a boon for bass fishermen in Minocqua
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

NORTHWESTERN WI - Heavy rains have caused an earthen dam to fail in a rural area of northwestern Wisconsin.

Douglas County Emergency Management Director Keith Kesler says he's unaware of any evacuations from the damage Monday. Few people live in the area.

Kesler says water is overtopping the Radigan Flowage Dam west of Dairlyland after several days of rain.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK -
Heavy rain this weekend nearly delayed the start of Lake Tomahawk's snowshoe baseball season.

The Snowhawks will begin their 12 game schedule Monday night against Newswatch 12.

Early Monday, it looked like the field at Snowshoe Park might be too wet to play on.

Snowhawks Manager Jeff Smith said the sun Monday afternoon has helped prepare the wood chips on the field for the game.

"Once you get them ruffed up, it kind of pulls the moisture out. It's kind of nice to have the sun going, because it will dry some of that right up. It takes a little while, it takes a little wind, but with everything going on now it's going to make big improvements by game time," said Smith.

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HARSHAW -
A culvert that collapsed after the weekend rainfall has caused Rocky Run Road west of Hwy 51 in Harshaw to be closed according to Cassian Town Chairman Tim Augustine. 


Augustine said in an email that the culvert is unsafe to be driven over. The Cassian Town Board has been working with property owners to get the culvert project underway. 

Construction to replace culvert is currently scheduled for July.

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NORTHWOODS - The storms from the past few days have caused the Rainbow Reservoir near Lake Tomahawk to overflow to a height it hasn't reached in decades.

Two out of the five dam gates opened on Friday.

The water underneath the dam and reservoir reaches flood stage at six feet.

According to the National Weather Service, the water was measured at 6.48 feet Monday afternoon.

That's a height the water hasn't reached since the 1940's.

"I've never seen it like this before," said Lisa Dahlke who owns a house on the Wisconsin River near Rainbow Lake.

The water coming out of the dam is being released a little faster than 3,000 cubic feet per second.

"I don't know how much fishing we are going to get in but the high water kind of messes that up," said fisherman Dan Eiden.

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RHINELANDER - Wearing his black gown and mortarboard, Derek Pranke looked every bit the part of a proud graduate on Monday afternoon.

"We all pulled straight A's," Pranke said of his graduating class.

But Pranke knew his outfit beat the one he got used to wearing the last few years.

"[Class was] better than wasting time and just sitting and doing nothing in prison," Pranke said.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Camp American Legion recently opened up for visitors this year, but campers will notice some big changes.

The entire top floor of the main building was redone with new flooring and new bathrooms. The camp also cleared the way to put in concrete outside the front entrance to be used as a future spot for music and other outdoor gatherings.

But those aren't the only projects underway. 

"The other one that we worked on was the front entrance and the sunroom entrance out here actually on the second floor, and that got a complete facelift on it also," said Camp Director Don Grundy. "We got stone work on the outside, all new windows, that we'll now be able to use these spaces in the winter." 

Grundy hopes to be able to have winter programming in the future. The camp will also have a grand opening for a new building for families of the fallen this coming Wednesday.


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MERCER -
People knew "Bike the Heart" as Vilas County's bike trail system.

Now that's changing as Mercer is now a part of "Bike the Heart."

That means the entire trail is more than 50 miles long!

But you'll have to wait until next month for Mercer's piece to be totally paved.

"It's been going for a long time. To be the last sort of Northern point of the trail for now, we are honored and excited about it," says Mercer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Wetzler.

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