UNDATED  (AP) — The return of northern pike spearing to Mille Lacs Lake for the first time in 32 years is generating a buzz among long-time spearers.

It's also brought hope for resort owners whose fortunes have been tied to the big lake's struggling walleye population.

Darkhouse spearing hasn't been allowed on Mille Lacs since the winter of 1982-83. It was closed to build up the muskie population.

But the Department of Natural Resources decided it was safe to reopen northern spearing because the pike population is high. The agency also wanted to ease the impact on local businesses from stringent restrictions imposed on walleye angling last spring.

While the DNR encourages spearers to take smaller northerns, resort owners say many 40-inch-plus pike have been speared since the bays froze over.