Science and Beer: Exploring the Impacts of Climate Change on Fisheries

Fishing is a crucial component of the outdoor recreation industry in the Northwoods region. The lakes and rivers in this area are home to a diverse range of fish species, and have long been popular destinations for anglers. However, changes in climate over the years have caused concerns about the sustainability of these fisheries.

Since 1950, temperatures in Wisconsin have increased by about 2 to 3 degrees, and are projected to warm an additional 2 to 8 degrees in the next 25 years. These climate changes are expected to impact fisheries in the area, with some species struggling while others thrive.

Research fish biologist Holly Embke with the USGS Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center has studied how these climate changes affect fish populations. She notes that we are already seeing shifts in fish populations due to warming waters. Species like bluegill and bass are doing well, while cold water species like walleye are struggling. A recent study highlighted that shifts in ice-off dates may pose a threat to walleye spawning.

Despite these challenges, Embke emphasizes that it’s not all negative news. She stresses the importance of understanding where fish populations are struggling and thriving, and implementing habitat restoration strategies to support these populations. Actions such as habitat restoration and focusing on different fish species like yellow perch or sunfish may help mitigate the impacts of climate change on fisheries.

Embke will be discussing these challenges and the significance of inland fisheries at the upcoming Science on Tap event in Minocqua on April 4. The event will be held at Rocky Reef Brewing Company in Woodruff and will also be available for streaming online. Embke hopes that attendees will gain a better understanding of the potential changes affecting fish communities and realize that while changes are inevitable, there are opportunities to adapt and support these ecosystems in a changing climate.

By Riley Johnson

As a content writer at, I dive into the depths of information to craft compelling stories that captivate and inform readers. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I strive to create engaging content that resonates with our audience. Whether it's breaking news, in-depth features, or thought-provoking opinion pieces, I am dedicated to delivering high-quality, informative content that keeps readers coming back for more. My goal is to bring a fresh perspective to every article I write and to make a meaningful impact through the power of words.

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