Winter Fish Kills

State biologists are telling residents restocking ponds and small lakes will be necessary after the winter fish kills.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) biologists say this brutal winter took its toll on the fish population, which could impact the 2014 pond-fishing season.

“Fish need oxygen just like we do,” said Andy Paluck, District Fishery Biologist for the IDNR. “Oxygen occurs in water when plant and algae grows, photosynthesizing. Since we’ve had four months of winter and ice cover there hasn’t been any photosynthesis going on, when the ice gets completely covered by snow. This dissolved oxygen levels become very low and pretty much all the species of fish around here we’ve seen dead.”

Paluck said the DuPage River, however, shouldn’t see that big of a kill because of the constant moving of water, shallow ponds are more at risk.

Some bluegills can survive the low oxygen levels, but the IDNR is assuming no bass survived in ponds, and should be restocked as soon as possible to ensure a fishing season and stability within the ecosystem.

For more information on the fish kills, the IDNR’s plans and directions for restocking visit ifishillinois.org.

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