Quick warming of Otsego Lake causes fish die-off

Jun 8, 2018

A white sucker fish.
Credit University of Wisconsin

A large number of dead fish have been washing up on the shores of a lake near Gaylord. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the dead fish along Otsego Lake are adult white suckers that have died after spawning.

DNR biologist Dave Borgeson says fish die-offs happen in Michigan’s inland lakes every year, but this one is unusually large.

“There’s a lot more suckers this year,” says Borgeson. “I think it had to do with a late spring and then that really rapid warm up, which caused it to be a little more dramatic this year.”

Borgeson says a lake that warms up quickly puts stress on the fish, which are already stressed from spawning.

He doesn’t think the overall fish population in Otsego Lake will be affected.