Wicked winter and June deluge impacts fishing season

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The harsh winter and never-ending summer rain is making tough for anglers to reel in a trophy fish or any fish for that matter.

The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources said there has been fish kill in many lakes across the entire state. Some lakes now have zero fish in them.

Plus with nearly ten inches of rain in June for Eau Claire, the rivers are high, currents are fast waters are muddy.

Businesses like Buroker's Taxidermy Bait and Tackle are now reeling from Mother Nature.

"This business is very weather driven and anytime we have record weather in any category it's bad. Record rain, record drought, record heat, record cold," said owner Mike Buroker. "No records are good. So an average would be nice. We can ask are weather men to start working on average weather."

The DNR said it was because of a combination of the winter and June rainfall.

"We determined yes, we did have kills and found in certain lakes, we have zero fish in them," said district fishery supervisor with the DNR Bob Hujik. "The fish kills were predominately all over the state."

Buroker said it seemed like the ice in the lakes would never melt.

"The ice just took forever to go away. A lot of people were excited about spring fishing but it just didn't come. That's two years in a row in Northern Wisconsin we had ice fishing during the opener," said Buroker.

Hujik said the river and stream levels are also high at this time. That has been a turnoff to anglers as well. The rain drew debris into the waterways, making the rivers and lakes muddy and murky.

Joshua Charles was out fishing at the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. He said he caught several catfish during the day.

"One actually took out my pole, so I had to go home and get some new tackle. It's a really good cat fishing spot," said Charles.

But he said the fishing has been inconsistent.

"I think one of the reasons the fishing might not be so good this year is the climate definitely seems a lot more temperamental and it definitely seems like there's kind of a plummet in good weather," said Charles.

Hujik compared the stream water to chocolate milk.

"The fish do not feed during that time," said Hujik.

Other lakes like Marshmiller Lake in Bloomer is doing just fine. We spoke to them on the phone and they say the only different is that some of the fishes may be a little smaller than years past.

While the fishing isn't quite like it used to be in other lakes and rivers, Buroker said anglers shouldn't give up just yet.

"When I was a kid, we fished all summer long. It didn't matter if it was June, July, September. As long as we were out of school we were fishing," said Buroker. "I love to fish so it's hard to imagine not everybody wants to fish like I do, but we still have a lot of good weather left yet."

Hujik said the DNR is stocked up some lakes this summer, including Half Moon Lake in Eau Claire. This week, they will be adding three to four inch pike so that by winter when anglers are ice fishing, the pike will be eight to ten inches.


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