A largemouth bass disease has been found in five lakes in and around the Twin Cities, raising concerns late-summer bass tournaments could prompt die-offs.
DNR officials have found largemouth bass virus in Green Lake (Chisago County), Prior Lake, Lake Minnetonka, Rush Lake and Forest Lake. The virus isn't dangerous to humans and doesn't affect warmblooded animals.
The disease was discovered five years ago in the Mississippi River. It has shown up in 20 other states mostly in the Southeast since being discovered in 1991. It is spread by transporting fish or water from infected lakes.
DNR officials say the disease can kill fish that are stressed by high water temperatures or from handling and transportation by anglers.
Officials said they were considering banning off-site weigh-ins at bass fishing tournaments during the hottest times of the summer to reduce stress on the bass.
The DNR partnered with the Minnesota Bass Federation to collect samples after bass fishing tournaments at nine metro area lakes known to receive high fishing pressure. Lakes that showed no sign of the disease were Clearwater Lake, North/South Center Lake, Whitefish Lake and Green Lake (Kandiyohi County). More lakes may be sampled next summer.