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Springtime Temperatures Bring Evidence Of Winter Fish Kills

Brian Gratwicke

Biologists say it’s not likely to be a big year for fish kills, but fishing a local pond is the best way to check its health.

Department of Natural Resources officials say the warmer temperatures could reveal the amount of winter fish kills.

When snow and ice piles on top of the pond, sunlight is cut off, plants produce less oxygen and fish die. Biologist Tom Bacula says some bodies of water in Northern Indiana had up to 20 inches of ice on them this year – and may still be recovering from last year’s harsh winter.

Small ponds are expected to reveal the most fish kills and reports of large gizzard shad kills have already been reported. Bacula says that may not be bad news, though.

“They cause some issues with our bass and bluegill because when they’re young, they all eat the same thing and Shad spawn very early and get very big very quick. If we can knock back that population a little bit, we might see some good growth out of our bass and bluegill,” Bacula says.

Bacula says fish kills could happen again this year and suggests contacting a fishery biologist for advice on how to mitigate them.

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