Something’s fishy with the fish in the Mississippi River on Iowa’s eastern border. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says routine surveys have found a number of largemouth bass suffering from skin lesions. John Lindell, the district manager for the Upper Mississippi River Refuge in McGregor, says 38-percent of the fish in some locations had the sores.He says the sores are very noticeable, with scales missing and raw meat visible on the fish. Lindell says they’ve discovered a couple things that’re making the fish sick.He says the fish have a bacterial infection, which has been around for some time. He says the real concern is the discovery of largemouth bass virus, something that’s not been seen in this part of the river before. Lindell says there’s also speculation that the heavy siltation of the river has taken away some of the deep water areas the fish use during the winter, pushing more fish into a smaller area. This creates more stress for the fish.He says the amount of stress typically influences the health of most animals, as more stress makes them more susceptible to stress. Lindell says they’re not sure yet what the total impact of the diseases will be on the fish population. He says it shouldn’t be a problem for humans.He says the diseases hit only cold-blooded animals and aren’t believe to be transmissible to humans. However, he says anglers should heed common sense by properly cooking all fish and not consuming dead or sick fish. In addition, they should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after fishing. Ice anglers who come across fish with lesions are asked to notify a local fisheries biologist.
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