Winter fish kill at three Iowa lakes

Sioux City, 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.

Categories: Rob Drieslein

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