Winter conditions are combining to take a toll on the fish in some of the state’s rivers and lakes. Iowa Department Natural Resources spokesman Mick Klemesrud says several fish died in the 48-acre lake Alice Wyth Lake near Waterloo this weekend. Klemesrud says anytime we have low water levels combined with early ice and snowcover, we experience winter kill.
Klemesrud says the conditions lead to low oxygen levels and the fish can’t survive. Klemesrud says some two to four thousand fish died at Alice Wyth. He says most of them are small bluegills and crappie, with a few carp. Klemesrud says the shallow lakes in north-central Iowa are more susceptible to winterkill.
Klemesrud says thousands of gizzard shad died in a winter kill in a shallow area of the Mississippi near Fort Madison. Klemesrud says the gizzard shad are real temperamental fish and says they had a similar kill at Big Creek. He says the gizzard shad are a favorite of the eagles along the Mississippi River. While there might be more natural fish kills — Klemesrud says don’t assume that’s what happened. He encourages you to call in so any fish kill can be checked out.
He says anytime you see stressed or dieing fish you should call a conservation officer so they can verify that it’s a natural kill. Local officials say the kill at Alice Wyth shouldn’t require them to restock the lake, as it’s often restocked naturally when the Cedar River overflows.