Wednesday, May 18, 2016

That's the (Golden) Ticket

From NBC 26,
NEENAH, Wis. (WLUK) -- Here's one gold fish you won't find in an aquarium.Steve Volkman says he was fishing for crappie on the Fox River in Neenah Friday. When he got a bite, it seemed like a typical crappie - until he got a look at it. 
The fish was a bright gold color, different from the white, green and black spotted pattern other black crappies display.
On the Fox River in downtown Neenah, the black crappie spawning run is underway."Pretty slow yet, but we're getting a few," said Steven Volkman, Neenah."Fish on," yelled one fisherman. 
On Monday morning, anglers were catching fish, but last Friday morning, Volkman says one bite in particular changed everything. 
"My magical golden crappie appeared, and we were pretty startled," he said."I looked at it, and thought my glasses were playing tricks on me," said Donnie Lornson, Menasha. 
Lornson saw something too."When he pulled it out, I says, you got an orange crappie there. Yeah, it was different," said Lornson. 
Lornson took pictures and the orange fish was soon a cyber-sensation. Volkman brought the fish to the Department of Natural Resources office in Oshkosh. 
"We were as stumped as the angler was when it came in. We had never seen anything like this," said Ryan Koenigs, D.N.R. Senior Fisheries Biologist. 
Koenigs says he moved the crappie to the laboratory, took photographs and consulted other fish biologists. 
"The fish has a pigment mutation. So it's not expressing the normal darker pigments that you would have on a black crappie, which normally are going to be black green and silver," he said. 
Biologists say the 10 1/2-inch female fish was healthy, and was full of eggs.

From 610 KDAL,
DULUTH, MN (KDAL) - The survey taken over the winter of 2016 shows that white-nose syndrome has spread to new sites in Wisconsin, including Douglas County, and is starting to take a toll on the bat population.  
The fungal disease has been spreading across the country from New York and is now found in 28 states and into Canada.  Estimates are that upwards of 6 million bats have died from the disease that causes hibernating bats to wake frequently, depleting their energy and causing them to die of starvation, or the cold. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist, Paul White, tells KDAL news the disease may have spread to Douglas County from the Soudan Mine area of Minnesota or from the U-P of Michigan. 

I am glad to report that my bats returned again this spring but with White Nose reported just to the south, I have to wonder if they'll still be returning in five years.

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