The St. Louis River estuary in Duluth remains clouded with red silt, a fresh reminder of last week's flooding.
But what impact will all that water -- and the tons of clay and sand still suspended in it -- have on the walleyes, sturgeon, muskies and other fish there?
Possibly not much, said John Lindgren, senior fisheries specialist for the Department of Natural Resources in Duluth. He doesn't believe the estuary ecosystem has been permanently damaged.
"Heavy sediment events in this estuary are not uncommon, because of the clay soils," he said. "Certainly this is as dramatic as I've ever seen it, but fish are used to it. I think the adult fish are fine."
The eggs from late spawners such as bluegills, crappies and bass could be buried in silt and die, he said. But walleyes that hatched earlier this spring likely were big enough to survive the onslaught of water, silt and debris.
DNR biologists probably won't know the storm's true impact until fish populations are sampled this fall. But Lindgren acknowledged that the flood broke new ground.
"It's mind-boggling the amount of mud," he said. Normally such sediment settles out within a week or so, but this might last longer. The DNR will watch to see if fish die from the event, though Lindgren doubts that will happen.
And the flood brought some benefits: Many trees and limbs were washed down the river.
"There's lots of new woody debris that has been deposited in shallow areas," Lindgren said. "It's good cover. That's a positive for the estuary."
But an unanswered question is whether the floodwaters damaged the sturgeon habitat restoration work that occurred in the St. Louis in 2009, part of a continuing effort to restore sturgeon there.
About 1,500 tons of rock were placed below the Fond du Lac Dam in a $150,000 project to recreate a spawning area for sturgeon (and walleyes). It was a success; officials found spawning sturgeon there last year.
"We have no idea of what that area will look like [when water recedes]," Lindgren said.
The sturgeon likely survived the onslaught, he said.
Meanwhile, few anglers are out on the river or St. Louis Bay because of the silt. Lindgren said he expects fish will be dormant until the sediment settles. Out on Lake Superior, charter boats have shifted farther up the North Shore to escape the cloud of sediment.
"People are fishing," said Russ Francisco of Marine General in Duluth. "There's a lot of wood in the water. You just have to be careful, and don't go out after dark.''
Doug Smith • firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @dougsmithstrib
|Houston||0||2nd Qtr 13:41|
|Minnesota||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Miami||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||12/8/13 3:05 PM|
|St. Louis||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|NY Giants||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Carolina||12/8/13 7:30 PM|
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|New York||84||4th Qtr|
|LA Clippers||39||2nd Qtr 0:30|
|NY Rangers||1||3rd Prd 13:02|
|Dallas||1||3rd Prd 16:43|
|San Jose||1||3rd Prd 10:49|
|Boston||1||2nd Prd 9:42|
|Ottawa||1||2nd Prd 1:08|
|NY Islanders||0||2nd Prd 16:06|
|Carolina||1||2nd Prd 14:41|
|Chicago||0||2nd Prd 12:41|
|West Virginia||69||2nd Half 0:31|
|Tenn Tech||77||2nd Half 0:10|
|Rider||75||2nd Half 2:55|
|Eastern Ky||66||1st OT 4:25|
|Florida A&M||39||2nd Half|
|Providence||31||2nd Half 16:57|
|Oakwood||29||2nd Half 16:12|
|Ole Miss||0||1st Half 19:38|
|High Point||2||1st Half 18:35|
|South Dakota||2||1st Half 18:10|
|La Verne||9:00 PM|
|Santa Clara||9:00 PM|
|Carroll (MT)||9:00 PM|
|San Diego St||10:00 PM|
|(19) Louisville||10||3rd Qtr|
|Bowling Green||12/6/13 7:00 PM|
|(16) Northern Ill|
|(15) UCF||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(18) Oklahoma||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(6) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|Memphis||12/7/13 12:00 PM|
|(23) Texas||12/7/13 2:30 PM|
|(5) Missouri||12/7/13 3:00 PM|
|So Florida||12/7/13 6:30 PM|
|(7) Stanford||12/7/13 6:45 PM|
|(11) Arizona State|
|(20) Duke||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Louisiana||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(2) Ohio State||12/7/13 7:17 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|Utah State||12/7/13 9:00 PM|
|(24) Fresno State|
|Palm Beach Atlantic||48||FINAL|
|William & Mary||59|
|Dayton||84||2nd Half 3:19|
|Clemson||69||2nd Half 0:59|
|NC State||73||2nd Half 5:03|
|Utah Valley U||31||2nd Half|
|Wichita State||59||2nd Half 3:50|
|Sam Houston St||38|
|Utah State||44||2nd Half 16:04|
|Boston College||38||2nd Half 15:35|
|TX-San Antonio||32||2nd Half 16:43|
|Arizona||30||2nd Half 13:50|
|Texas State||24||2nd Half 16:59|
|New Orleans||17||2nd Half|
|Idaho State||34||2nd Half 16:20|
|Northern Ill||28||2nd Half|
|Loyola Marymount||0||1st Half 18:18|
|Miami-Florida||3||1st Half 16:26|
|San Diego Christian||9:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||9:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|St Marys-CA||9:00 PM|
Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?