SPOONER, Wis. (AP) — State wildlife officials are warning northwestern Wisconsin could see widespread fish kills soon.
Department of Natural Resources biologists say a bacteria called Columnaris becomes active after water temperatures reach 65 to 70 degrees from late May until late June.
The bacteria can't hurt humans, but it can infect fish, eroding their skin, causing their bodily fluids to leak and killing them quickly. Bluegill, crappies, yellow perch and bullheads already stressed from seasonal spawning are most vulnerable.
DNR experts say outbreaks could occur on lakes in Polk, Barron, Washburn and Burnett counties over the next few weeks. But they say although the bacteria can appear to produce large kills, it usually doesn't have catastrophic effects on overall fish populations.