Archived Story

Fish kill above average due to high water temps

Published 11:31am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

While many people jump in the lake to keep cool, living a life underwater isn’t always enough to protect fish from the heat.

Many have noticed fish floating around and washing up onto shore on area lakes recently. This is due to the heat wave that has hovered over the area for the past couple weeks, said Department of Natural Resources area supervisor Arlen Schalekamp.

Reported species of dead fish include walleyes, perch, suckers and a little bit of everything, said Gary Peterson, owner of Ken’s Tackle on Otter Tail Lake.

While he said he doesn’t think this is a significant kill-off, this is the most dead fish Peterson has seen on Otter Tail Lake in his eight years he has been around the lake.

Some of the deaths are likely caused by anglers catching fish in deep water and releasing them on the surface. Many fish aren’t able to recover from the rapid temperature change, Schalekamp said.

Otter Tail Lake has seen record surface temperatures so far this year. Last week, the water peaked at 83 degrees. High surface temperatures can be tough on fish, said Peterson.

Overall, neither Peterson or Schalekamp are overly concerned about the reported dead fish.

“It’s a part of nature,” Peterson said. “It’s just what happens.”

Schalekamp said this is a fairly common occurrence this time of year.

“There’s always going to be dead fish in the summertime,” said Schalekamp. “That’s just the way it is. It’s nothing I’m concerned about.”

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