LTER Road Trip – Returning Fish Diversity to Crystal Lake

Hundreds of people rimmed Crystal Lake in Northern Wisconsin on a hot afternoon. I stood along the shoreline with Noah Lottig from the North Temperate Lakes (NTL) LTER, watching the flocking gulls surround swimmers wading in and out of the sandy edge. The lake looked beautiful, clear and surrounded by dark green trees and patches of grass. The nearby campground has become so popular with locals and visitors alike that the sites book up almost a year in advance. While activity swirled above the surface, beneath the water an entirely new drama had unfolded.

Historically, yellow perch, walleye, and small minnows formed the fish community in Crystal Lake. But, in the early 1980’s, anglers accidentally introduced cold water loving rainbow smelt into the lake. Oops.

Read the full blog here on the LTER Network site!

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