Fond du Lac Band declares 13 lakes it intends to spear

Cloquet, Minn. — The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa announced late last week the lakes that members will be allowed to spear walleyes during a first-of-its-kind season this spring. The list includes 13 lakes in the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota.

The declaration includes fewer than 2,000 walleyes. A notice from the band to members stated it “will authorize spearing only on these lakes, and will not allow gill nets for the 2014 season.”

Tribal and Minnesota DNR officials weren’t available for comment prior to Outdoor News’ press time, but a DNR web page regarding the matter said the harvest levels were made in consultation with state DNR fisheries experts. “Harvest will end if the quota is reached,” the site says. “Band spearing is not expected to result in changes to state bag limits.”

Band members who intend to spear must have a band-issued permit, which is valid for one day, and must identify daily limits for game fish. The permit also designates a single body of water for which it’s valid, as well as which landing will be used. Both band and state officials must monitor the harvest.

Lakes declared, and their walleye declarations, include Ball Club (120 walleyes), Caribou (144), Cascade (168), Elbow (82), Fourmile (119), Pike (163), Tait (304), and Tom (81) in Cook County; Cadotte (59) and Echo (228) in St. Louis County; and Dumbbell (81) Silver Island (270), and Wilson (130) in Lake County.
According to the state DNR, “Fond du Lac’s 1854 treaty rights were upheld by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle in 1996.” Fewer than 100 tribal members currently are expected to spear walleyes.

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