The Department of Natural Resources is reminding anglers that if they see a large fish kill, it doesn't necessarily mean it's VHS.
Concern about the virus has been growing ever since it was discovered in the Lake Winnebago chain. However, DNR fisheries supervisor Mike Vogelsang says this is the wrong time of year for the virus to be killing fish in large numbers. Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia primarily impacts fish in colder waters, so larger kills are expected in the early spring and fall.
Vogelsang says they've recently received dozens of fish kill reports in Northeastern Wisconsin. They're the result of a common bacterial infection called Columnaris, not VHS. The bacteria gets into the gills of fish when the water warms up and causes them to suffocate. Also, most of the reported fish kills have been on lakes where VHS has not been found before. The bacteria mainly effects only panfish, such as crappie and bluegill and has been known to kill thousands of fish at a time.
Vogelsang says the DNR still wants anglers to report any large fish kills, so the agency can investigate.