Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.COM)
Walleye fishing in Wisconsin could be severely limited due to new tribal spear fishing declarations.
A move that has been met with concern from some anglers in the state.
The 6 bands of Chippewa tribes have together declared over 1000 more Walleye than in previous years.
The state has responded with a one bag limit for anglers on many lakes.
"Because of the increased declarations this year they went down to a one. The average limit is 5 but we make adjustments when that occurs to keep the fish at a safe population for the future," says Dave Zebro.
The Lac du Flambeau tribe chose to discontinue an agreement with the DNR.
"Our state has had an agreement with the Lac du Flambeau tribe which is in the Woodruff area that they would not declare any more fish which would reduce the limit below a three bag," says Zebro.
The agreement had been in place since 1997. Some anglers feel with a one bag limit, fishing for Walleye may not be worth the trouble.
"Everytime you go out fishing it costs you money, your boat, gas whatever. To just catch one...it's a losing battle," says Mike Inca, angler of 45 years.
Some wonder if the acts are in retaliation because of tribal discontent over new mining legislation that would allow for an open pit mine to be built at the base of Bad River.
"There's no way that we would ever kill fish for revenge. Or kill fish because we're mad or kill any animal because we are mad. That isn't the way Anishinabe people think about the world," says Mick Isham, Conservation Director of the Lac Courte Orielles tribe.
There was previously a 1 bag limit on just 10 lakes. Now the limit has spread to 197.
"There's also the issue that we're trying to have our people eat healthier, which means a diet of more fish," says Isham.
Isham says the tough economic conditions also factor into the tribal declarations. He is dismayed by the controversy.
"I don't think we should be airing any issues to the press. We should sit down at the table and work them out."
The declarations are all within the tribes legal limits.
However, the DNR plans to meet with the tribes to try and renegotiate throughout the week.
Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware