Minneapolis, MN

Hot weather may contribute to fish die-offs

Terry Davis

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MINNEAPOLIS-SAINT PAUL, MN — According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, recent hot weather may be contributing to fish die-offs in lakes throughout the state.

“Spring and summer fish die-offs happen occasionally, but we are getting widespread reports of dead fish following the recent prolonged stretch of hot weather,” said Tom Burri, DNR limnology consultant.

The DNR asks the public to report fish die-offs. If they come across a large number of dead fish in a lake or stream, they should contact the state duty officer at 6516495451 or 8004220798, available 24/7.

Calling in a report creates a single point of contact for the incident. An early report also allows for timely water sampling or other response actions, if necessary. It’s especially useful to know what kinds of fish and sizes people see during a fish die-off.

Warming water and opportunistic infections spread in fish populations already stressed after the spawning season, resulting in fish die-offs in the mid-spring and summer. Sunfish, crappies, and bullheads are frequently observed in these die-offs, as are largemouth bass and northern pike.

When wild fish die due to disease, the affected fish are typically a particular single species and size range. On the other hand, human activity is more likely to be the cause of die-offs involving multiple species and size ranges.

Water discharged at high temperatures, toxic chemicals discharged or spilt, pesticides and fertilizers, manure runoff and low oxygen levels in a lake caused by stormwater that runs off urban or rural landscapes can all be human causes of fish kills. Often, multiple factors contribute to the death of a fish.

Visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fisheries/fishkills.html to learn more about this issue.

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