A popular lake in Ottawa County has had piles of fish die off and now a disease has been discovered that could wind up in other lakes if people are not careful.

Lake Macatawa

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Lake Macatawa is near Holland in Ottawa County. The lake is very popular with boaters and fishermen. Lake Macatawa is 6 miles long, about 1.2 miles wide, and less than 10 feet deep.

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By brewbooks - Over Michigan, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=119341484
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The Macatawa River feeds Lake Macatawa. The lake empties in Lake Michigan which means if some virus gets into fish that are in Lake Macatawa those fish could potentially enter the Great Lakes.

Major Fish Die-Off at Lake Macatawa Due to a Virus

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Large numbers of fish have been showing up on the shores of Lake Macatawa. Most fish have been freshwater drum, gizzard shad, and pumpkinseed sunfish.

Read More: What's The Green Light Spotted on Google Earth of Grand Rapids? 

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At first, many people thought the fish dying was due to the warmer weather plus many lakes experience a die-off during different parts of the year. Many residents and anglers were spotting an unusual number of dead fish for this time of year. Most fish have been washing up on the shore near Kollen Park.

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According to the DNR News, reports of dead fish floating on Lake Macatawa began in mid-April through the DNR "Eyes in the Field" online reporting app. DNR Fisheries Division sent a team out to investigate and collect specimens for testing. A pumpkinseed sunfish and 7 freshwater drums were sent to Michigan State for analysis.

Courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources
Courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources
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Michigan State University's Aquatic Animal Health Lab determined the pumpkinseed sunfish and six freshwater drums tested positive for a virus known as hemorrhagic septicemia. The DNR is asking boaters to clean their boats, trailers, and fishing equipment off if they fish other lakes to help prevent the spread of the disease.

The DNR says the virus does not threaten humans or pets that come into contact with the potentially infected water. You can learn more about VHS and other fish diseases here.

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