A musky spearing tournament sponsored by a northern Wisconsin Native American tribe on Saturday is raising concerns from the Department of Natural Resources.
The Lac du Flambeau band of Lake Superior Chippewa will be using five Vilas County lakes for the spearing tournament, with tribal members allowed to spear an unlimited number of muskies when spearing through ice.
The DNR has requested that the Lac du Flambeau inform the state how many muskies are speared during the tournament, as a courtesy, according to a news release from the DNR.
"The DNR feels this data is necessary to examine any potential differences in harvest or effort rates with incentivized spearing harvest tournaments on these northern lakes," Mike Staggs, DNR fisheries bureau director, said in the release.
Posters advertising the "Honoring Our Treaty Rights" spearing tournament were displayed in Vilas County this week.
The poster advertises $6,500 in prizes, the lakes being used — Big Lake in Boulder Junction, Big St. Germain, Big Arbor Vitae and North and South Twin Lakes — and an awards ceremony Saturday afternoon in Lac du Flambeau.
The DNR said it's working with the Lac du Flambeau band so the public knows there will be holes cut in the ice on those five lakes.
Contestants must present Lac du Flambeau tribal identification to participate in the tournament.
"We want to be sure the spearing holes are clearly marked," said Karl Brooks, DNR deputy chief warden. "This is consistent with other spearing activities, and is meant to inform those who may not be expecting holes on the ice."
The rights to spear fish by the six Lake Superior Chippewa bands were upheld in court 30 years ago.