Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Leader Questions Bag Limits


The leader of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) is defending the spring spearfishing levels set by Wisconsin’s Chippewa tribes.

The chairman is also questioning whether the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had to reduce the bag limits for walleyes.

GLIFWC manages the spring walleye harvest for the state’s 11 Chippewa bands. When the increased spearfishing numbers came out, the DNR lowered the daily bag limit for sportsmen to only one walleye on 197 lakes. GLIFWC chairman Mic Isham says the impact of the Indian harvest is being exaggerated: “The tribes take less than 10 percent of the total harvest, and that’s only on some of the lakes. Really, there are so many other lakes that we don’t even harvest from.”

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According to Isham, GLIFWC’s scientific data shows that even with the increased Chippewa harvest, the new DNR bag limits are too low.

“In the ’70s and ’80s there were all these mobs putting all this fear out there and we didn’t have the data. We probably have better data on the lakes now than ever before.”

[So you’re saying the DNR, given this new data, probably doesn’t have to lower the bag limits so far on so many lakes.]

“Yeah, that’s what I am saying.”

Mic Isham also says it is not true that the Chippewa raised the spearing numbers as payback for the state’s approval of mining legislation and the wolf hunt.

“The notion that we’re going to kill something because we’re mad at the state, for whatever those reasons, the mine or wolves or whatever, that’s just not the way Indian people are taught. I could just imagine what my grandma would say, or our elders would say.”

Isham made his remarks on a regional Wisconsin Public Radio talk show.