Canada club launches VHS education and awareness campaign

AURORA, Ontario — After two major die-offs occurred on Lake Simcoe because of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), members of Ontario's Aurora Bassmasters decided to educate area anglers about the disease.

"We were concerned that not enough information was available for boaters and anglers who fish Lake Simcoe to help them slow the spread of VHS and other fish diseases," said Aurora Bassmasters member Wil Wegman. "VHS had been confirmed in Ontario's hottest trophy smallmouth lake for two years in a row, and the club wants to do what it can to prevent other Ontario lakes from becoming infected.

"We created and distributed a news release that offered helpful and practical tips for transient boaters and anglers," continued Wegman. "Tips included disinfecting livewells with a 1:10 bleach/water solution, and draining lower units, livewells and bilge water before trailering away from the lake.

"The media campaign was especially successful, with most local newspapers, Lake Simcoe Living Magazine and picking up on the release. The information was also sent to all Bassmaster clubs and other key stakeholders in the watershed."

Two volunteers worked together to create and distribute the release. In total, they worked about 10 hours on the project.