Search
Tuesday, July 16th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Tuesday, July 16th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia the culprit in Michigan’s Lake Macatawa fish kill

“The die-off mostly affected freshwater drum, with smaller numbers of gizzard shad and sunfish also being impacted,” said DNR Fisheries Division Assistant Chief Ed Eisch. (File photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Holland, Mich. — An ongoing fish die-off on Lake Macatawa, near Holland in Ottawa County, stems from the virus responsible for causing viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently confirmed.

Reports of large numbers of dead and dying fish near the outlet channel of Lake Macatawa began coming in around mid-April through the DNR’s Eyes in the Field online reporting app. DNR Fisheries Division staff members were dispatched to attempt to collect specimens suitable for analysis by fish health professionals at Michigan State University’s Aquatic Animal Health Lab. Because the fish had been dead for quite a while, most were unsuitable for analysis.

One pumpkinseed sunfish from the original investigation was fresh enough to be taken to the lab. While MSU was conducting the analysis, more reports of dead fish came in, so a second attempt was made to collect specimens. This time, seven freshwater drum, also known as sheepshead, were collected and delivered to the lab. Eventually, the pumpkinseed sunfish and six of the seven drum tested positive for the virus.

MORE COVERAGE FROM MICHIGAN OUTDOOR NEWS:

Michigan men arraigned in torture, illegal hunting case from Kalkaska

Michigan hunter shoots bear that had been tagged 180 miles away by Wisconsin DNR

Dam removal, repairs benefitting brook trout nearly complete on Michigan’s Boardman River

“The die-off mostly affected freshwater drum, with smaller numbers of gizzard shad and sunfish also being impacted,” said DNR Fisheries Division Assistant Chief Ed Eisch. “The virus that causes VHS is known to have been in the Great Lakes basin since approximately 2005.”

The virus has periodically caused mortality in gizzard shad and muskellunge populations in the Lake St. Clair/Lake Erie/Detroit River system. Given the rising water temperatures, the current outbreak in Lake Macatawa is probably winding down and it is not expected to have any lasting effect on the lake’s fish populations.

While VHS has only been in the region for a short time, it has the potential to cause significant mortality in species important to anglers.

Share on Social

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles

For a limited time, you can get full access to breaking news, all original Outdoor News stories and updates from the entire Great Lakes Region and beyond, the most up-to-date fishing & hunting reports, lake maps, photo & video galleries, the latest gear, wild game cooking tips and recipes, fishing & hunting tips from pros and experts, bonus web content and much, much more, all on your smartphone, tablet or desktop For just a buck per month!

Some restrictions apply. Not valid with other promotions. $1 per month for 6 months (you will be billed $6) and then your subscription will renew at standard subscription rates. For more information see Terms and Conditions. This offer only applies to OutdoorNews.com and not for any Outdoor News print subscriptions. Offer valid thru 3/31/23.

Already a subscriber to OutdoorNews.com? Click here to login.

Before you go... Get the latest outdoor news sent to your inbox.


Sign up for our free newsletter.

Email Address(Required)
Name
What outdoor activities interest you?