ST. GERMAIN, Wis. (AP) _ A state assemblyman whose district has been troubled by a dispute over Indian hunting and fishing rights becomes the first Wisconsin lawmaker to face a recall since 1932.

State Rep. James Holperin, of Eagle River, meets Sayner businessman Gene Ahlborn in Tuesday's Democratic recall primary, which was mandated by a petition drive. Brian Sherren, a St. Germain resort owner, is running unopposed in the Republican primary. The general election is set for April 3.

Holperin's northern Wisconsin district covers much of Vilas and Oneida counties, two hotbeds for protests against spearfishing by the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa, one of six Chippewa bands in the state and the most active at spearfishing.

Non-Indian anglers complain that the Chippewa spearfishing discriminates against them and depletes fish populations.

But Wisconsin's Chippewa bands retain the right to spearfish, hunt, cut timber and gather food off reservation under 19th century treaties that ceded northern Wisconsin to the U.S. government.

Since a federal court upheld those treaties in 1983, Chippewa spearfishers have been met at northern lakes in the spring by large, rowdy and sometimes violent protests staged by treaty rights opponents, forcing the state to spend millions of dollars to protect tribal members.

Frustrations have risen on all sides of the issue in the last year as state efforts to negotiate multimillion-dollar settlements with the tribes were defeated in tribal votes.

Opponents of the Indians' rights vented their frustration at 39-year-old Holperin this winter, securing about 6,000 signatures to force a recall.

The critics claim Holperin has lost touch with voters on treaty-rights issues. Specifically, they said Holperin supported a failed treaty rights agreement with the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa that a majority of his constituents opposed.

No state representative has ever been successfully recalled in Wisconsin. The last recall election was in 1932, when Republican Sen. Otto Mueller of Wausau retained his seat.

Observers generally agree Republicans hold the balance of power in Holperin's district.

Brian Christianson, Sherren's campaign manager, predicted many GOP members may take advantage of Wisconsin's open primary law and vote in the Democratic primary as they try to vent their frustration over the spearfishing dispute.

''Who they will vote for? I don't know,'' Christianson said. ''In that lies the great mystery of the campaign. If Jim Holperin survives the primary, are those Republicans going to stay with him in the general election?''

Christianson said the treaty rights issue doesn't cut a clear path along party lines.

''You have Republicans who are sympathetic with Holperin and union, blue- collar Democrats against Holperin because they are sportsmen,'' he said. ''I don't think you are going to see a lot of voter apathy in this election.''

Some Republicans want Holperin ousted while others, including Gov. Tommy G. Thompson, feel a recall isn't the proper forum for settling political differences over treaty rights, he said.

Sherren, 40, and Ahlborn, 50, a buyer for a family-owned wholesale business, are both making their first runs for the Legislature.

Reports filed with the state Elections Board showed that from Jan. 1 through Feb. 19, Holperin's campaign raised $25,705 and spent $17,480.

Sherren's report indicated he raised $7,710 and spent $2,946.

Ahlborn's campaign spending report was not available, but he said he intended to keep his spending below $10,000.