RE: NANFA-L-- "Sheepless in Ohio" - Dead Sheephead in Lake

Crail, Todd (tcrail-in-UTNet.UToledo.Edu)
Mon, 5 Jun 2006 23:21:46 -0400

Google, my friend. Google has all your answers ;)
(pretty cool bulletin board if you're into Great Lakes stuff)

Jeff Tyson of the Ohio Division of Wildlife reports that he has received test
results from the USFWS Fish Disease Lab in LaCrosse, WI regarding the the
massive dieoff of freshwater drum (sheepshead) along western Lake Erie over
the last few weeks.

The fish were infected by a virus causing viral hemmorhagic septicemia (VHS).
The term septicemia generally refers to blood poisoning and is a very deadly
condition, as the dieoff showed.

Mr. Tyson noted that the outbreak seems to have subsided in western Lake Erie,
but more reports now are coming from the Central Basin, suggesting the disease
is moving eastward. While a startling number of dead sheepshead have been
observed by boaters and along shorelines, the dieoff-in-its current level is
not likely to significantly impact the overall drum population in Lake Erie.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife would like to obtain more samples of fresh
sheepshead that are in the dying process (NOT older, decomposing specimens),
especially from Central Basin locations. They ask that if you see distressed
or dying drum that can be collected, please contact the Division's Lake Erie
Fishery Research Station-in-419-625-8062. Do not collect them for delivery to
ODNR; the division's biologists will collect them using a protocol to prevent
other microorganisms from contaminating the samples.


From: on behalf of Hold The Cow!
Sent: Mon 6/5/2006 9:56 PM
Subject: NANFA-L-- "Sheepless in Ohio" - Dead Sheephead in Lake Erie!

Hi, I was just wondering if anyone can explain something. I have guesses, but
would just like to throw this out to the list.

I was visiting Lake Erie's Kelly's Island his past weekend, when I noticed
several dead sheephead fish (Freshwater Drum) floating in the lake, as well
washed up on shores. In addition, there were pockets of odor blowing in off
the lake, perhaps from the dead fish, which can only be described as "funky"
or like a severe case of bad breath in a street drunk. Enough to make you
say... "WOAH!"....

Usually, by mid June or July, from what I have noticed..... this part of the
lake is relatively clean and clear, except when algal blooms, heavy rains
(which we had recently), and perhaps some virus related situation causes
something like I described above, after which, it clears up.

What can be said about this? Perhaps Nick or Todd can comment, or anyone up
that way.

Rob Carillio
Mahoning River Drainage,
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