Beer and Science: Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Fisheries

Facing the Heat: Adapting to Climate Change in Northwoods Fisheries

The Northwoods region is known for its outdoor recreation, and fishing has always been a popular activity. The lakes and rivers in the area are home to a diverse range of fish species. With rising temperatures in Wisconsin over the past 70 years, there have been concerns about how climate change will impact the fisheries in the region.

According to Holly Embke, a research fish biologist with the USGS Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, there are already observable changes in fish populations due to warming temperatures. While warm-water fishes like bluegill and bass are increasing, cold-water species like walleye are facing challenges. Shifts in ice-off dates could potentially threaten walleye spawning, as indicated by a recent study. Despite these challenges, Embke emphasizes that there is still hope for the future of fisheries.

Embke focuses on identifying struggling fish populations and determining ways to help them adapt to the changing climate. This may involve habitat restoration efforts or supporting other fish species that are more likely to thrive in the new conditions. The goal is to ensure that fisheries remain healthy and productive in the face of climate change.

Embke will be discussing these challenges and the importance of inland fisheries at an upcoming Science on Tap Minocqua event on April 4th at Rocky Reef Brewing Company in Woodruff starting at 6:30 p.m. For those unable to attend in person, the event will also be available for streaming online. The presentation aims to provide attendees with a better understanding of the potential changes in fish communities due to climate change while also highlighting opportunities to support and protect aquatic ecosystems.

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