WARSAW — While a spring and early summer that has featured plenty of moisture and cooler-than-average temperatures has wreaked havoc on area farmers, the cantankerous weather of 2019 has also affected local lakes.
“We know that fish spawning has been delayed in many areas,” said Jed Pearson, a district fisheries biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Columbia City office.
“When you get heavy rains like this year, you tend to get murkier water.”
Pearson said the cooler temperatures and persistent precipitation has reduced lake water clarity. Temperature, he said, also affects when fish spawn and that determines when those animals will regain their post-spawning appetites, which makes for better fishing conditions.
“When fish are on their beds, some people have put lures right in front of their face and they won’t bite,” Pearson said.
According to the National Weather Service’s station near North Webster, average temperatures have been about one degree cooler in April, May and June of this year. In terms of rainfall, May around the Warsaw area wasn’t as wet as normal, but April and June have been saturated with higher precipitation data. In April, the area received 4.58 inches of rain, up from the normal of 3.55 inches. In June, 4.94 inches have already fallen, beating the average rainfall for the month of 4.22 inches.
Pearson said excessive rainfall and cooler temperatures also affect plant life in area lakes, which in turn have an impact on the animals living in and around these waterways.
“The vegetation has been affected too,” he said. Pearson said he recently made a trip to Lake Webster and observed the spawning of the lake’s storied species, Muskellunge. He said it was clear that the predatory fish were a week, if not more behind schedule.
“We don’t know if that will affect the fish’s population and probably wouldn’t know that for several years,” he said.
And while social media has been peppered with memes lampooning the early part of 2019 as a soggy mess, Megan Dodson with the National Weather Service’s Northern Indiana post near North Webster reminds residents that this is not the worse year the area has seen.
Most of the station’s data goes back to 1981, which Dodson said was nearly twice as wet at 2019. The area received 8.82 inches in April of that year and 9.25 inches in June.