February 9, 2016

Drought impacting state fisheries

Wisconsin fish are feeling the stress of a dry and hot summer. Since June, Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Section Chief Steve Hewett says the agency has investigated at least 37 fish kills.

In many of those cases, the continued heat and drought were factors. The hot weather has resulted in warmer water temperatures in many waterways and the lack of rain has dropped water levels. Hewett says the two issues combine to put extra stress on fish.

Hewett says some water temperatures have been climbing into the 70s, well above the usual 60s most fish are used to in the summer. He says anglers should keep that in mind when they head out and consider fishing during the early morning hours when water temperatures are lower.

The problem is escalating to the point where many cold water species, such as northern pike, have died because of current conditions.

At this time, Hewett says the DNR is not considering any restrictions on fishing due to the difficult nature of enforcing any rules. He says they are relying mainly on angler education and cooperation to try and reduce the stress on fish.

Anyone who sees signs of a fish kill is urged to contact the DNR.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (:59)

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