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Officials concerned about sick walleye

Walleye Health Concerns
Published: May. 7, 2022 at 6:57 PM EDT
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AU GRES, Mich. (WNEM) - Some officials are becoming concerned about the future of walleye fishing in Michigan after a local fisherman caught a sick fish.

Biologists want to find out what is making the fish sick before it affects the local economy.

“The angler that caught this fish when he told me about it, he said when he grabbed a hold of this fish, he knew something was wrong with it,” said Keith Dewald, the Saginaw Bay Walleye Club president. “When he opened the fish up, it was totally discolored and the whole meat felt rock hard.”

Dewald contacted a biologist, but they were puzzled. So, he reached out to other anglers in the region and discovered this was not an isolated incident.

“We know of four fish that have been caught in Lake Huron and I’ve been talking with everybody from Ohio to Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and I know of six more fish that have been caught like this in Ohio waters,” Dewald said.

Dewald doesn’t believe something is being put into the waters that is causing the rock-hard fish, but he is eager to find out what is going on before it impacts the fish population and the local economy.

“If this disease catches on to any other fish, we might not have any fish whatsoever. If the walleyes are gone, of course, we will not have a tour, but then we won’t be able to go to different towns from town to town, bring business into town and fish in try any local community or any local towns to try and promote and help with the fisheries in that in that town,” Dewald said.

If you catch a fish that you believe has an issue, don’t throw it away hold on to it contact the Department of Natural Resources so that it can be tested.

The 2022 Spring Fling Walleye Tournament which was scheduled to happen Saturday was canceled due to the weather.