Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Thousands of fish washing up on Lake Erie shore
OTTAWA COUNTY (WTOL) - Thousands of dead walleye are washing up along the shores of Lake Erie. Members of the Wildlife Division of The Ohio Department of Natural Resources started receiving complaints in early May.
"We are seeing fish numbering in the thousands, that are floating in the western basin," said Eric Weimer with ODNR.
ODNR crews have been monitoring the walleye kill by surveying the water and flying above it. Although crews cannot be sure, they believe it has to do with the weather this spawning season.
"With fish, spawning is a stressful time anyway. And this spring especially, with the colder weather, and the winds, and the weather conditions we've been dealing with, is especially stressful for them. So they are more susceptible during that time period to other pathogens, natural pathogens in the lakes" said Weimer.
Weimer said it is not unusual for walleye to die during the stressful spawning season, but this year the number of dead fish is unusually high. ODNR crews are also testing walleye samples for VHS, a fish virus that entered the Great Lakes recently.
"We hate to see fish floating and dead anyway. But right now, we're not seeing the number of fish that would really get us worked up," said Weimer.
He adds there are 20 million walleye in Lake Erie.
The walleye kill has been the topic of conversation for anglers at the Happy Hooker Bait Store.
"They're really concerned about the amount of dead fish they are seeing out there," said Owner Carrolyn O'Neal.
"When you ain't catching them, and you see them floating, yes that's frustrating," said angler Scott Slane.
Posted by John McArdle at 4:54 AM