APPLETON - If you've been out on area waters lately, you may have noticed a greenish hue in area waters lately, from the Fox River to Lake Winnebago. Anglers say it's hard to miss.
"Right now, it seems to be worse right in here because of the wind, it's blowing right in here, but it's been worse before," explained Bill Vandenelzen of Appleton as he stood on the shore of Lake Winnebago.
DNR officials say they started to see the algae develop a few weeks ago. They say August is usually the worst month because of the warmer weather.
And while the green stuff may not be as bad as it could be, the warm temperatures headed our way could change that.
"We get some bright, sunny hot days in the upper 80s, we could see some blooms," explained Ed Culhane with the DNR. "At this point, there's been enough runoff generally and there's enough heat to spur growth."
Experts say some species produce toxins, such as blue-green algae.
If ingested or inhaled, it can cause illness in people and sometimes even worse conditions for pets.
"Dogs don't care about water quality. The dog jumps in the water, swims around, comes out, licks its fur, whatever, and it can become very sick and in some cases, it can be fatal," Culhane said.
And how do you know if the levels are safe?
"One rule of thumb - and this isn't scientific - but if you stand in the water up to your knees and you can't see your feet, that's a sign, because of the green algae, that's a sign you need to be careful," Culhane explained.
Culhane says it's hard to say exactly how long the algae will stick around. He says a lot of it depends on the weather.
Either way, anglers say they'll manage.
"You got to live with it," Vandenelzen said.
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