MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The state DNR is reducing the number of lakes in northern Wisconsin where sport anglers can take only one walleye per day.
Monday, the agency imposed the limit on 173 lakes where Chippewa Indians use their centuries-old treaty rights to spear walleye before the general fishing season begins.
Last year, the DNR imposed the limit on 197 lakes -- almost 25 fewer than this year, even though the Chippewas planned to take a record number of walleye this spring. The tribal quota is 63,000, six percent more than the previous record in 2010.
The late spring was cited as one reason, along with the fact that Indians have less access to a popular lake in neighboring Minnesota. However, the tribes generally take only about half their quotas -- so the limits for sport anglers are normally raised after that.
Spearfishing created tensions in the 1980's after a federal judge reaffirmed the Chippewa treaty rights. Tensions rekindled last year after the state created a new wolf hunt and relaxed environmental standards for mining.
The DNR says a new walleye stocking program should create less tensions now.
However, Assembly Tourism Committee chair Dean Kaufert is still concerned about anglers staying home in the midst of the one walleye limits.
(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)