FOND DU LAC – A big fishing weekend has some anglers concerned after a massive manure spill into a creek near Lake Winnebago on Memorial Day.
Department of Natural Resources officials say an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 gallons of manure ended up in Pipe Creek.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of fish that were killed,” said DNR Public Affairs Manager Ed Culhane.
The manure spill happened at Lake Breeze Dairy Farm in Malone. It’s a few miles east of Lake Winnebago.
“They physically removed all the solid manures from the stream that they could get to and now it’s just letting nature take its course,” Culhane said.
DNR officials say despite the spill, it shouldn’t affect the weekend fishing tournament on the lake.
More than 250 anglers are participating in this year’s event.
Anglers we spoke with at the tournament say they heard about the recent spill and offered mixed reviews.
Dave Ehlke said he’s not worried about the spill.
“I would suspect it was pretty much dispersed by this time and I don’t think it would cause a problem,” said Dan Vukovich.
Others have another view.
“Anything that hurts the fishery, we’re not for,” said Larry Erke.
The walleye caught during the tournament will be put back into the lake.
The fish that don’t survive are cleaned and donated to local charities.
As for Pipe Creek, DNR officials have been collecting samples of the water over the past few days.
“We’re doing standard DNR water quality tests where we’re looking at the dissolved oxygen levels and turbidity and these are mainly factors that would affect the fish. Fish need a certain amount of dissolved oxygen in the water,” Culhane said.
Culhane says the DNR is also taking bacteria and E.coli readings in the creek and other areas near the spill.
The DNR says it’s not sure when the water samples and bacteria readings will be completed but the results will be available to the public.
DNR officials indicate an investigation into the farm spill in ongoing.