Winter kill of many species is caused by many factors. Sub zero temperatures for long periods of time is one of them. Here in northern Michigan that's what we are experiencing.
Some living creatures have the ability to lie dormant for decades in adverse weather conditions. These species wait for the right weather to return to life and procreate. Many species however cannot take the extended cold spell we are experiencing. We have had temperatures averaging below zero for most of the winter. We also have had deep snow cover for over 3 months. The obvious animals to suffer the consequences are Opossums and Turkeys. These species have only arrived here in northern Michigan in the last twenty years. They do not migrate south for the winter. That leaves them here to suffer the extreme temperatures we have this year. Many will perish and become food for the coyotes, bobcats, and fox who are indigenous to this area since the last ice age.
This phenomenon also creates the same problem for the lower part of the food chain...trout. Our trout are a cold weather survivors. Open water of the great lakes and swift flowing streams guarantees high oxygen content in the water which they need to survive. The aquatics in possible trouble are warm water Bass and pan fish. They will pay the price. Blue Gill, Perch, Bass that live in summer warm ponds or small lakes will be the victims. These small ponds freeze solid, choking off the oxygen supply. Cattails, reeds, and bushes will supply some oxygen to the small ponds, but not for an extended period of time. The Brook and Lake Trout are closely related to the Arctic Char. These cold temperatures are of no consequence to our adorable trout.
The fact is these extreme cold periods check some evasive plants and animals that can damage our northern environment. Research shows that the evasive Emerald Ash Borer cannot survive freezing, so natures cruel winter does have its benefits.
You need not worry about our trout. The concern is the very cold temperatures are hard on the Bass, Bluegill...and us!
Richard and Jim
Letting you know current conditions and best approaches.