Harsh winter blamed for thousands of dead fish

dead fish, fish kill

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Bitter cold temperatures and mountains of snow created more than just treacherous roads and downright unbearable conditions.  It’s what DNR officials say is responsible for several devastating fish kills across the area.  Several pond owners just reported the rare problem to officials.

“It’s pretty rare. Happens maybe every 10, 20, 30 years basically with the winter conditions that we just went through,” DNR Spokesperson Jed Pearson said.

It’s a problem some pond owners are uncovering as the ice melts away.  Lots of dead fish.  So, why all of the sudden this year?

“It’s basically caused by too much snow and ice all winter long. What that does is blocks out sunlight. That prevents microscopic plants to produce oxygen. So, eventually then the fish suffocate.”

The owner of a private pond in Whitley County told NewsChannel 15 he told me he lost hundreds of fish.  Something that’s concerning to DNR spokesperson Jed Pearson.

“If we are talking 10, 20, 30 fish that is probably a normal amount of fish that would die in the winter. If it is a couple hundred then there may be a serious problem with it, but obviously if it’s several thousands of fish then it has been a major kill and you will probably need to do something to bring the pond back.”

He says the best thing to do is to fish.  See what you find.

“What kind of fish are still out there and is there enough for it to recover? If not, then they might want to consider stocking extra fish like large mouth bass. That would probably be the number one fish to think about replacing in the pond.”

Fish hatcheries we spoke with over the phone Tuesday say the demand for fish will probably go up, but the prices of their fish won’t.

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