Questionable: What causes sores on northern pike and muskies?
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“I caught several fish the other day (northern pike) on Lost Lake in Sugar Camp, and they had big open sores on them. What causes these sores?”
– Erica, Sugar Camp
The Star Journal asked John Kubisiak, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist based in Oneida County. Kubisiak responded:
“The most likely cause for sores or lesions on a pike is a disease called lymphosarcoma. It can be fairly common in northern pike and muskellunge, and some infected fish die from it.
“Lymphosarcoma is believed to be caused by a viral infection, and is transmitted by close contact, especially during spawning. It may also be spread to healthy fish after a sick fish is netted or held in a live well. Diseased fish or fish parts should be disposed of by burying or placing in household trash.
“We do not see lymphosarcoma it in all waters, and following DNR guidelines to drain lake water from your bilge and live well helps prevent the transport of diseases and other hitchhikers to new lakes. We take the additional step of treating DNR boats and gear by either steam cleaning, disinfecting with a 5 percent bleach solution or a peroxide-based disinfectant called Virkon, or leaving the gear sit for at least five days after it is dry.”
Editor’s note: Send in your questions to Starjournal@jcpgroup.com, or mail them to the Star Journal, 24 W. Rives St., P.O.?Box 558 Rhinelander, WI?54501.