Muskie dead in Evergreen spillway

July 15, 2010 at 02:51 PM

The annual fish salvage below the Evergreen Lake spillway did not go as planned Wednesday.

In the spring when high water overtops the dam, fish are washed into the spillway. A large fence holds fish in a 150-foot-by-150-foot holding pool at the base of the dam.

Most years volunteers gather in June and net 75-100 muskie and several large saugeye out of the pool and haul them back into the lake. This year participants could only grimace after seeing several large, dead fish.

“There were probably a dozen or a dozen and a half (muskie) over 40 inches and probably 50 or 60 total that were dead,” said Mike Steffa, who manages Evergreen Lake.

“And there were two state-record caliber saugeye that had eyeballs as big as the bottom of a shot glass,” added Chef Todd.
Steffa said high water well into June delayed the rescue. Once water stopped running over the dam, hot temperatures and huge numbers of Asian carp took a toll.

“When they turned the switch on the electro-fishing boat there were carp jumping everywhere,” Steffa said.

Some lakes with muskie populations install fences at the top of the dam to keep fish from washing over. That’s not an option at Evergreen because Steffa said “there’s too little clearance from the top of the spillway and the bottom of the road” that passes over the dam.