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As Winter Drags On, The Possibility Of Fish Kills Increase

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

More snow and cold this weekend raises the concern that the continuing thick ice on many Northwoods lakes could lead to problems with fish kills.

DNR northern fisheries manager Mike Vogelsang in Woodruff says the added snow is not a bonus for the fish...

"....we're already starting with a couple of feet of snow on the ground and adding this snow along with very thick ice, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if we had some winterkill issues this spring...."

He says he was out on a lake recently and noticed very thick ice, up to the power head on his auger. He says that means there's between 26 and 30 inches of ice still on most lakes.

He says some of lakes in late spring years like this one typically have ice on them in early May....

"....a lot can happen in three weeks, but the long range forecast doesn't look good, it's very snowy and cold. It wouldn't surprise me if a good share of the lakes in Vilas and Oneida counties have ice for the (fishing) opener..."

He says several shallower and weedier lakes in the Northwoods often have winterkill issues...

"...We have been doing some dissolved oxygen monitoring on those waters and right now they're hanging in there, but we've had a few reports from ice anglers and game wardens that they're seeing some dead fish along the shores where the ice has pulled away a little bit....."

The fishing opener this year is set for May 5.

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