Private pond owners are encouraged to report severe winter fish kills to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission following ice-out.
Winter fish kills occur when oxygen levels fall too low to support fish under the ice. Ice prevents the direct absorption of oxygen from the atmosphere, so oxygen produced by plant photosynthesis is crucial. Oxygen levels drop because of plant decomposition and respiration by aquatic organisms. Shallow ponds with heavy vegetation are particularly susceptible.
Once the ice is gone, pond owners should check their shorelines for dead fish and note the species, size and quantity. If hundreds of dead fish are observed, owners may call Jeff Blaser, Game and Parks’ private waters specialist, at 402-471-5435, to discuss options for restoring the fish community.