Manure spill shouldn’t affect Walleye Weekend fishing

Pipe Creek in Fond du Lac County is seen, May 29, 2014.
Pipe Creek in Fond du Lac County is seen, May 29, 2014. (WLUK/Chad Doran)

FOND DU LAC – A manure spill into a creek near Lake Winnebago shouldn’t affect people fishing during Fond du Lac’s Walleye Weekend festival, the state Department of Natural Resources says.

On Memorial Day, an estimated 50,000 gallons of manure spilled into Pipe Creek, which drains into Lake Winnebago. The spill happened at Lake Breeze Dairy Farm in Malone to the east of the lake. The spill killed fish and led to concerns about E. coli in the water. Cleanup and heavy rains since then have moved the stream closer to the way it was before the spill. Some fish have even begun moving back into the creek.

DNR officials say most of the fish have been removed. However, people shouldn’t eat any dead or dying fish that have floated to the surface. Fish caught normally with hook and line should be rinsed thoroughly before being cooked. Anyone who touches the water should wash hands afterward because of viruses and bacteria that are routinely in the water.

DNR and local health officials are testing water at parks and in private wells near the mouth of Pipe Creek. The results of those tests will be made public, officials say. The DNR believes groundwater is not likely to be affected.

Another die-off of panfish along the lake’s east shore and south of Pipe Creek was not related to the manure spill, the DNR says. The kill was a result of a disease called columnaris, which mostly affects fish spawning in the spring.

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