Bacteria responsible for dead panfish on Lilly Lake

Public domain photo by Briandykes

Have you been noticing what looks like an unusual number of dead panfish on Lilly Lake lately?

If so, Wheatland Town Clerk has some information for you:

“I contacted DNR and the fish kill is due to a bacteria in the water at this time of year. Doug Welch, fish manager, said it is a little later than usual this year because the water did not warm up before now. He said it doesn’t hurt the fish community.”

The responsible bacteria is columnaris. From the DNR:

Columnaris, a bacterial disease, is another factor in the management of the fishery. When spring water temperatures reach 70 degrees, columnaris, populations explode. At that time bluegill and crappie can be under stress from spawning and very susceptible to disease. Almost annually, significant crappie and/or bluegill mortality occurs from this disease. While large numbers can die-off, this probably better serves to also help keep panfish numbers lower and maintain good growth. The DNR fish disease specialist points out that surviving fish gain an immunity to columnaris.

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