Read the full article by Anna Feldman (The Daily Cardinal)

“As the weather warms and the ice surrounding Madison’s isthmus begins to thin, ice fishermen come from far and wide to cast their line before spring arrives. 

But recent news from the Department of Natural Resources may have some fishermen scaling back on fish fries.

Increasingly high levels of the toxic chemicals PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) were found in Monona Bay, a popular spot for recreational fishing for the Bayview neighborhood, according to a DNR report released January 21st. The concentration of PFAS — a group of human-made chemicals used in products such as non-stick cookware and some types of fire foams — was found to be highest in Lake Monona of the lakes in Madison at 7.26 ppt (parts per trillion). 

And this buildup of chemicals has affected the entire ecosystem of the lake, including the fish.

Stephan Reinke, the general manager of Brittingham Boats, a boat rental service on Monona Bay, has lived in the Madison area for his entire life. He’s been fishing on the bay since 1991, but has stopped eating his catch due to the PFAS build-up.

‘Instead of going to after-school when I was in kindergarten in Franklin Elementary, a friend of mine and I would grab sticks with strings and go fish on the rocks by the bay,’ Reinke reminisced. ‘I don’t eat fish out of the bay anymore since [PFAS is] a forever chemical; it doesn’t go away…’”