Winter Fish Kill in Iowa

Bacon Creek Lake, and two ponds in Southwood Lake Park, all in Woodbury County, are experiencing natural winter fish kills after one of the snowiest winters on record.

Don Herrig, fisheries technician with the DNR's office in Lake View, investigated the fish kills and said each lake had low levels of dissolved oxygen.

Natural winter fish kills happen every year, but are more visible in years when snow covers the ice shortly after the lake freezes, shutting out sunlight and stopping photosynthesis from occurring.
"We had a similar situation at Bacon Creek a few years ago but the fish came through it," Herrig said. "We had been monitoring the dissolved oxygen level during the winter and knew it was low so this is not surprising, but it is disappointing."

The extent of the fish kill will not be known until later this spring when Herrig can conduct a population survey.

"Natural winter kills rarely kill all the fish in a lake," Herrig said. "Once the survey is complete we will determine if re-stocking is necessary or if the remaining population will be allowed to fill the void."

Bacon Creek Lake has largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, crappies, and in the winter and spring, trout.

A number of other winter kills have been reported from across the state and, as more lakes and farm ponds become ice free, more winter kills will likely be discovered.

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