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Wade Joseph

VHS in the Winnebago chain

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Wade Joseph

This can't be good. Remember people, dump your minnows at the landing.(I dump mine in the lot so the seagulls can eat them) Drain your livewells and bait wells.

The deaths last week of hundreds of sheepshead in Lake Winnebago and Little Lake Butte des Morts signal the presence of a virus responsible for massive fish kills in Lakes Erie and Ontario, a state official said.

In a development that surprised Wisconsin natural resources officials, the virus was confirmed in the water of the Lake Winnebago system of lakes along the Fox River.

It can kill many other fish species in the chain of lakes, even threatening the population of ancient sturgeon that thrive there, said Sue Marcquenski, fish health specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources.

The unchecked spread of the virus throughout Wisconsin waterways threatens the state's $2.3 billion sport fishing industry, which supports more than 26,000 jobs in the state.

The Lake Winnebago system supports North America's largest self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon and boasts the world's oldest program to manage their population, which began in 1903.

"We didn't expect to find the virus in the Winnebago system first," she said. "We expected to find it in Lake Michigan first.

"Our main concern is that this virus has caused infections in so many other species, too, from bass to perch to muskies, northern pike, walleyes and shad," she said. "In the next one, two or three summers, we could lose much of those fish in the Winnebago system."

DNR Fisheries Director Mike Staggs asked anglers and boaters to help stop the spread of the virus to other lakes.

"This is a major fish health crisis," Staggs said Saturday. "We have to take aggressive steps now and enlist the help of the public to stop this spread.

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Nate McVey

Thanks Wade

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Surface Tension

Short of washing hulls inside and out with a bleach/water solution along with livewells and trailers I don't see how we could possibly stop this from spreading.

This summer will be interesting.

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Wade Joseph

Its not often that my boat sits idle for 14 days or more. Thats how long they say it needs to dry in order to kill it if your not washing it with the bleach solution.

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outdoor ran

Cwd, bird flu, and vhs mad.gif Sure makes you wonder if our kids or grandkids will be able to enjoy the outdoors like we do. I agree with Frank, going to be tough to keep vhs from spreading.

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Nate McVey

It starts with us.......I know I will be wiping down my boat each time.

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Wade Joseph

I agree shiner, bleach is pretty cheap.

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Surface Tension

Bleach is cheap.

Lets see a raise of hands of those that have been on the bay or lake that have disinfected their hulls inside and out, livewells, coolers, and trailer so far this year?

Compliance: it isn't going to work unless every boat and trailer that leaves the harbor or lake gets disinfected.

I don't see that happening, not when we have "sportsman" that won't think twice about leaving trash on lakes and landings.

Heres what needs to be done. No salties enter the great lakes. Their cargo will be transfered. Every access on the bay, river and lake is staffed with one decontamination personnel. There there'll be tanks with disinfectant where each boat and trailer gets the works. This'll be funded how? A Shipping tax and Coastal Waters stamp. Like I said earlier I don't see this happening any time soon. Do we even have a warning and disinfectant procedures at the landing now?

Heres what we can do for now. Take a garden sprayer, you know the type you pump up. Fill it with bleach water and spray down the hull and trailer at the landing.

My next feat will be the cure for the common cold.

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Wade Joseph

Your right Frank, but if those of us who do give a rip do our best and also try to sprerad the word, maybe we can delay it until there is a solution.

I love fishing too much to throw my hands in the air and just give up.

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Surface Tension

Wade my finger will be in the dike as well.

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outdoor ran

I know it starts with us. Of course I will do my part and so will alot of guys. I just mean its going to be tough because theres lazy people out there that just dont care about the resource or respect it.

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muttly

More information from the DNR...

Dear Wisconsin conservationists, anglers, boaters and lake stewards:

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, or VHS, was found last weekend in Little Lake Butte des Morts in Winnebago County. We have subsequently had seven samples from Lake Winnebago test positive for the disease. VHS is a serious threat to our fisheries and to Wisconsin’s $2.3 billion fishing industry. Although we’ve been preparing for its discovery here for some time, we’ve had to act swiftly and comprehensively this week to curb any possible spread to other inland waters.

At the state level, we are in the process of developing monitoring procedures to track VHS. We’ve suspended all stocking of fish, transfers of fish among hatcheries or water bodies, and collections of forage fish or eggs from the wild. In addition, I have appointed a VHS response team to compile information and develop recommendations as we move forward.

This week, the Natural Resources Board also extended an April emergency rule aimed at preventing the spread of VHS to include Lake Winnebago. It prohibits anglers and boaters on that water system -- as well as the Great Lakes and Mississippi River -- from moving live fish from the lake and requiring the drainage of boats and livewells before leaving the landing. I commend the NRB’s swift action. We don’t want anglers and boaters to accidentally spread the disease to any additional inland waters.

It’s important for you to know, however, that VHS doesn’t affect people – you can still keep and eat the fish you catch – but it can kill a broad range of game fish. We need to work together to stop the spread of this disease. It is difficult to say exactly what impact VHS will have on our fishery or how many species it might affect in Wisconsin. However, experience in other states indicates that fisheries can and have bounced back. We are still going to have a lot of fish in our lakes and rivers for anglers to catch and enjoy.

Some of the emergency restrictions put in place may cause an inconvenience, but there’s a lot at stake here. Wisconsin’s public is the first and last lines of defense against this disease, and without help, we cannot fight VHS. Where ever in Wisconsin you are enjoying one of our 15,000 lakes, you can help slow the spread by practicing the following precautions:

Do not move water or live fish from one water body to another. Drain the bilge, bait bucket and live well at the landing, dispose of minnows in the trash and put your catch on ice at the landing.

Clean plants and other debris from your boat before leaving the landing; and

Buy minnows from a registered Wisconsin dealer or catch the minnows you use from the same water you plan to fish.

Wisconsin’s natural resources belong to all of us, and we all have a stake in protecting them. I’ve attached some links to more information about VHS. My sincere thanks for your help in this important effort.

Sincerely,

Scott Hassett, Secretary

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

VHS information on DNR’s website:

http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/pages/vhs.html

Frequently asked questions about VHS:

http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/pages/vhs_prevent.html

What is being done to slow the spread:

http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/pages/vhs_questions.html

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