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Anglers finding area rivers much lower than normal

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 2:47 PM CDT
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KEWAUNEE, Wis. (WBAY) - Unlike the last few years, spring flooding has not been an issue this year in Northeast Wisconsin.

If you’ve been out on area rivers lately, you’ve likely noticed water levels very low for this time of the year.

Tannen Taylor was caught off guard when he arrived at the Kewaunee River from Wausau this morning to fish for steelhead.

“This is the lowest I’ve actually ever seen it,” says Taylor.

Just upstream at the Besadny Fish Facility, DNR crews are sorting steelhead by strain to collect eggs from later this week.

And while the water is low, the fish have adjusted.

“They’re here, yep, they’re here, we have pretty much the only guaranteed way to catch fish, is to bring them in and put them in the ponds,” says Jesse Landwehr, Besadny Operations Supervisor.

Landwehr says the Kewaunee River is like most area rivers right now, far below their normal spring depth.

“Less snow that we had this year and melting sooner, we kind of got that high water level earlier and it didn’t quite coincide with the water temperature or the daylight, because those are the three main things that run the fish’s spawning run is flow, temperature and day length,” explains Landwehr.

And because of the less water flow, this spring’s spawning run for steelhead, and other species, will likely be spread out over a longer period of time.

“It’s made a sporadic run, which is good, a lot of times they’ll come in heavy for a few days and that’s what most people go for is the big run and I like it spread out the way it is,” says Jim Sparbel from Stevens Point.

An avid steelhead fisherman, Sparbel had to work hard for his two fish today, but he’s on the river, and not complaining.

“It’s pretty tough going, but better than being on the couch,” says Sparbel.

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