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Tag Archive | "viral hemorrhagic septicemia"

Anglers no longer required to keep baitfish receipts


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would like to inform anglers about new viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) regulations that went into effect Thursday, Jan. 9. The changes result in simpler regulations for anglers who purchase and use minnows as bait by removing the retail sales receipt provision.

Anglers will now no longer be required to possess their bait receipts while fishing and retail minnow sellers will no longer be required to provide anglers with detailed receipts for minnows.

VHS is a serious viral disease that has spread into the Great Lakes region and caused large-scale fish kills. VHS was first identified in the Great Lakes in 2005 and has caused mortalities in a number of fish species in the Michigan waters of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair and Detroit rivers, Lake Erie, and inland in Budd Lake near Harrison and Base Line Lake near Pinckney. It has also been found in Lake Michigan waters of Wisconsin.

The DNR actively monitors for VHS throughout the year and as other areas are identified positive for VHS, they will be listed online at www.michigan.gov/vhs.

Receipts were previously used for educational and enforcement purposes to direct anglers to places where their bait could be used based on purchase location and whether or not it was certified as disease-free.

VHS regulations have been in effect for several years and, after careful review, the DNR determined the retail receipt provision could be removed because anglers are more knowledgeable about the risks associated with baitfish use.

There is no known treatment for VHS, so preventing the spread of disease is the best way to protect Michigan’s fish. Anglers can help prevent the spread of VHS by keeping the following tips in mind when using baitfish:

Learn to identify the species of baitfish you are using. Species known to be susceptible to VHS and typically used as live bait include emerald shiners, spottail shiners and white suckers. Other species occasionally used as bait that are susceptible to VHS include bluntnose minnows, trout perch, gizzard shad, shorthead redhorse and silver redhorse.

Request that your local bait store sell certified disease-free baitfish.

Purchase and use only certified disease-free baitfish.

Never move live fish between bodies of water.

Disinfect your bait bucket, livewells and bilges between uses with a bleach solution (half-cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water) or allow equipment to dry thoroughly before using in a different body of water.

Properly dispose of all bait containers including worms and soil, crayfish and minnows in a trash receptacle.

Protecting Michigan’s world-class water resources is everyone’s responsibility for now and future generations. All boaters need to drain their livewell(s) and bilge of their boat upon leaving the waterbody because it’s the law.

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DNR reminds anglers about bait restrictions


As salmon begin making their way up the state’s rivers from the Great Lakes, the Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that the use of salmon eggs and minnows for bait is restricted in some waters as part of a strategy to slow the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS).

VHS, a disease that causes fish to die from internal bleeding, has caused mortalities among a number of species of fish in Michigan in both the Great Lakes and inland waters. The disease has been found and has caused fish kills in Michigan’s waters of Lake Erie and Lake Huron. VHS has been found in Lake Michigan, but not in Michigan’s waters. Inland, it has been found in Budd Lake in Clare County and in Baseline Line Lake in Washtenaw County. VHS has not been found in Lake Superior.

“Basically, if you don’t take any spawn out of the watershed it came from and you fish below the first upstream barrier from the Great Lakes, you are legal,” said DNR fisheries biologist Gary Whelan.

“But you can not use it upstream from the first dam or in another body of water.”

Anglers who purchase spawn for bait should look for certified VHS-disinfected spawn as this bait can be used anywhere in the state. Certified VHS-free spawn and minnows are widely available and can be used up to 14 days after purchase.

Anglers who purchase bait must retain their receipt to prove it is disease-free. Uncertified bait may only be used in waters that have tested positive for VHS, as listed in Fisheries Order 245 which can be found on the DNR’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/vhs, and uncertified bait can be used for only three days after purchase.

“There is no known treatment for VHS,” Whelan said. “Our best defense against it is trying to prevent its spread.”

Anglers and boaters can help prevent the spread of VHS, as well as

other invasive species, by taking a few simple precautions:

  • Do not move fish from one body or water to another
  • Do not empty bait buckets into the water
  • Drain live wells and bilges when leaving the water
  • Disinfect boats between uses

For more details on all aspects of VHS and fishing regulations specific to VHS, check the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/vhs.

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