October 23, 2013 at 3:30 am #742MikeKeymaster
from arufon – ‘http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2005/06/15/local/doc42b0778ace793
Dead fish? Hold your nose and wait
By David Steinkraus
There’s nothing wrong with the inland lakes that a little time won’t
cure. Until then, it’s advisable to hold your nose if you find the
odor of decaying fish offensive.
For about the last week, the Department of Natural Resources office
in Sturtevant has been hearing complaints about dead fish on Eagle,
Silver, and Beulah lakes in Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties.
But this is nothing out of the ordinary and is the result of factors
that always converge about this time of year, said Doug Welch, the
fisheries biologist for the three-county area. “And some years are
worse than others. It all depends on how fast the water temperature
rises, how much rain we get, and that sort of thing.”
The other factor is that fish are spawning now. The stress of that
reduces their resistance to infection, Welch said. At the same time,
warmer water induces the rapid growth of microorganisms, specifically
a bacterium called columnaris. It destroys gill tissue. Fish
afflicted with this bacterial infection typically have a yellow mucus
on parts of their gills or fins, usually surrounded by an area tinged
red, and sloughing skin. (There’s no danger to humans from
columnaris, the DNR says.)
While columnaris lives in the water naturally, Welch said, their
numbers are increased when rains flush the surrounding land, washing
more bacteria into lakes.
Typically it’s panfish — bluegills, pumpkinseeds, and perch — which
contract the disease and which you’ll find dead, Welch said. Any fish
is probably susceptible, but we see more panfish dying because
they’re spawning now and they congregate in shallow water, he said.
“These fish are done spawning, usually, by mid to late June,” Welch
said. After that people may see dead fish, but not in the numbers
visible now, he said.
As to cleaning up the mess, Welch said, the DNR usually let’s nature
take care of that, too, in the form of raccoons, opossums, gulls, and
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