Drought conditions affecting salmon

Sep 18, 2012

With this year’s drought, fish in northern Michigan are fighting low water levels and hot temperatures as they head upstream to spawn.  The drought is causing major problems for one river, in particular.

The state Department of Natural Resources is about to take very rare action and ban fishing near the mouth of the Betsie River, near Frankfort.

Fisheries biologist Mark Tonello says if people stay away from the area, there is enough room for the fish to swim up river.

"Even when they’re not intending to, a lot of times they’re spooking the fish and the fish wind up beaching themselves and dying."

Officials are trying to avoid a mass salmon die-off on Betsie Bay. For now, the request that people stay away from exposed bottomlands near the mouth of the river is voluntary.

It’s one of a handful of rivers where salmon are not stocked and must reproduce naturally to survive.