ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) -- We may be seeing the end of this heat wave, but the temperatures have already done a lot damage, including to the fish inhabiting our state lakes.
The lakes are a good way to escape the summer heat, but for a species that inhabit the lakes, the waters can quickly turn into a death trap.
"So, we're seeing some mortality, primarily in small Northern Pike," says Jeanine Vorland with Minnesota DNR
Witnesses have been reporting dead fish all week on shores around the state.
The fish kill in question is seemingly only affecting the Northerns in Geneva Lake and in Fountain Lake in Albert Lea, and the cause of these kills, according to Vorland, is said to be this extreme heat.
"It is unusual but not unheard of. We usually get some summer kill. A lot of times people find bullheads that tend to have a disease outbreak in these very warm temperatures. A lot of times we'll see it when we go from rapidly getting very warm, we'll see some fish mortality."
The high temperatures lead to a difficult living situation for Northerns, especially at night.
"Warm water does not hold a lot of saturated oxygen, so it's easy when we get the nighttime warm water in the nighttime period that the plants aren't photosynthesizing and it will just deprive the fish of oxygen," explains Vorland.
Considering the sheer numbers expected, Minnesota DNR is quickly entering assessment mode.
"We'll try to assess what species are affected and to what extent. If we're seeing large fish as well as small fish and that sort of thing, but we'll probably just follow up with the lake later on in the season to do some test netting to see if we're maintaining a good, balanced fish community."
No official numbers of dead fish are known, but considering witness reports and a review from conversation officers, Minnesota DNR expects the numbers to be substantially high.
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