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Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
(1983)

Wisconsin fishes and fishery management,   pp. 18-37 PDF (8.3 MB)


Page 23

 
Wisconsin Fishes and Fishery Management 23 
residents, seined Pool 10 near Cassville under the ice and rescued 100,000
fish. 
With this, the fish rescue and transfer program on the Mississippi River
was 
nearing its end. 
   Although many regarded the fish rescue and transfer program as beneficial
 to fish stocks and to fishermen interested in exploiting these stocks, opposition
 to the program was growing for a number of reasons. Carlander (1954:35)
noted: 
 The sportsmen of the bordering states began to wonder if fish rightfully
theirs were 
 being sent to other parts of the country..., complaints that many game fish
were being 
 removed and the coarse fish returned to the river seem to have been somewhat
justified 
 since the records show that from twenty to ninety-three percent of the rescued
"black 
 bass" were transported to other waters. 
   The Wisconsin Conservation Commission (1949:89) noted that between 1920
and 1925 large numbers of rescued fish, mostly black crappies, were distrib-
uted to many northern Wisconsin lakes where they became extremely abun- 
dant. These "carp of the north" came into competition with and
displaced sport 
fishes like walleyes and bass, and as a result of crowding often became stunted
themselves. Thus the indiscriminate stocking of species outside their normal
range may result in the reduction or loss of more desirable native fishes.
   In retrospect, most fishery biologists now question the value of fish
rescue 
for maintaining desired fish populations in Wisconsin waters. Stocking rescued
fish in lakes, ponds, and rivers is also of doubtful value, since such stocking
does not necessarily improve fishing. Most warmwater lakes and ponds are
already overrun by large numbers of stunted fish, and any additional stocking
merely aggravates this condition. Fish stocking is seldom needed except in
new 
ponds and new artificial lakes. 
   The fish rescue and transfer program was undoubtedly responsible for the
"discovery" years later, of isolated individuals far removed from
the known 
distribution of their species. Attention is called to such perplexing cases
in the 
species accounts. 
Fishkills 
Fishkills are by no means a recent phenomenon in Wisconsin, where they have
occurred every year for as long as records have been kept. Today, many fishkills
occur yearly, and in some waters, partial fishkills have become an anticipated
yearly event. Some fishkills are traceable to fish diseases, but most are
caused 
in late winter and late summer by oxygen depletion in heavily vegetated waters
which are high in nutrients. 
  During July and August 1884, a die-off of an estimated 136 kilotons of
fish 
occurred in Lake Mendota (Dane County). The cause was unknown, but an 
infestation of the protozoan Myxobolus was suspected. During the .hot, dry
summer of 1910, thousands of fish perished in the waters of Lake Winnebago
and Green Bay, and from the latter part of July to the middle of August wall-
eyes and perch were found floating over the surface of Green Bay. In 1925,
a 
large number of fish were killed in the Flambeau River, probably as a result
of 
industrial pollution. 
  In the early spring of 1967, over 50 large lake sturgeon perished in Lake
Wis- 


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