Michigan anglers reminded about bait restrictions

Lansing — Now that most fishing seasons have opened, the
Department of Natural Resources and Environment reminds anglers
that the use of salmon eggs or minnows for bait is restricted in
some waters as part of a strategy to slow the spread of viral
hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS).

Anglers who purchase spawn or minnows for bait should make sure
it is certified as VHS-free. Certified VHS-free bait is widely
available and may be used anywhere in the state for 14 days. The
use of bait that has not been certified as disease-free is
restricted, depending on where the bait was collected, and anglers
need to follow the regulations to use uncertified bait in the
correct locations. Uncertified bait can only be used for three days
after purchase. All bait collected by anglers is considered to be
uncertified bait.

VHS virus, a virus that causes fish to die from internal
bleeding, has caused mortalities among a number of species of fish
in Michigan. The disease has been found in Michigan’s waters of
lakes Superior, Erie and Huron. In 2009, VHS was detected in fish
collected from Lake Superior, including yellow perch in the
Paradise area and lake herring in the Apostle Islands area of
Wisconsin. The virus has been found in fish sampled in Lake Huron
from Cheboygan and Thunder Bay in 2006 and in spottail shiners from
Saginaw Bay in March 2010. Fish have been found to be positive from
Lake Erie in Ohio’s waters each year since 2006. VHS virus has been
found in fish in Lake Michigan, but not in Michigan’s waters. And
it has been found in at least two inland lakes, Budd Lake in Clare
County in 2007 and Baseline Lake in Washtenaw County in 2009.

“There is no known treatment for VHS,” said DNRE Fish Production
Manager Gary Whelan. “Our best defense against it is trying to
prevent its spread. It is important to anglers to realize that the
virus is not yet widely distributed in Michigan, thus anglers have
the opportunity to help slow its spread by using baitfish
properly.”

For more information about VHS and fishing in Michigan, go to
www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing

Categories: Michigan – Bill Parker

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