Fish Kill at FSCC Campus Lake Due to Fluctuating Weather

Fish kill was observed this week at the Fort Scott Community College campus lake.

Walkers around Fort Scott Community College campus lake have noticed many dead fish.

A call with photos of the fish to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks gave the answer.

“The fish that are in the picture are gizzard shad,” said Lucas Kowalewski, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Fisheries-Region 2 Supervisor. “Gizzard shad are very sensitive to cold water conditions and it is very common in waterbodies where they are present to see winter-time kills. Especially in extended periods of extreme cold and periods where water temperatures fluctuate rapidly up and down (which we have experienced both this winter). ”

“That species is very common to see in the wintertime,” he said. “We are on the northern edge of their species distribution. They are very sensitive to cold.”

“This process can be important for other species, such as blue catfish, which will feed heavily on these winter die-offs of gizzard shad on our larger reservoirs, and I have seen migrating bald eagles key in on waterbodies where this is occurring,” he said. Leaving them for the birds and raccoons will clean them up, in time. If the smell gets bad, you might clean them up, but leaving them is OK, too.”
When there are fish kills, biologists look at two things.
Is it one species or multiple?
“If it’s one, is it something specific about that species at this time of year?” he said. “Or is it illness or disease?”
“If multiple species, is it something going on in the environment?” he said. “For example in summer there areĀ  low dissolved oxygen fish kills, due to weather patterns and dying plant materials.”
A Gizzard Shad fish kill at Fort Scott Community College lake on February 15, 2024, is the result of fluctuating weather, said a Kansas Fish Biologist.

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