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Largemouth Bass Virus spreading in Northern Michigan

Flickr User Neil DeMaster

A fish virus has been detected in new lakes in Northern Michigan.

Largemouth bass virus has been confirmed in Beaver Lake in Alpena County and Avalon Lake in Montmorency County, after being discovered in another northern lake in October.

This is the first time it's killed fish in the state in 15 years, and it appears to be spreading north.

Gary Whelan is a program manager for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division. He says the disease was likely introduced when somebody moved live fish.

"It's the first time we've seen LMBV show up in northern Lower Peninsula lakes, and we think it was directly involved in the mortality events in those lakes."

He also says climate change could make northern lakes more hospitable to the virus, which thrives in warmer temperatures.

Largemouth bass virus is not known to infect humans, and infected fish are safe to cook and eat.