Iowa: Thousands Of Bass Found Dead Along Shores Of Dickinson County Lakes May Have Been Killed By Disease
By Russ Mitchell – “Water temperatures are far warmer than usual for this time of year. Fish have had an extra long growing season and the arrival of yellow bass in the area a decade ago may have caused a population explosion in the Iowa Great Lakes.
Some, or all of those factors may be contributing to an unsettling scene along the shores of Dickinson County lakes this fall. Bass carcasses can be seen every few steps along the beach at Pikes Point State Park, which is on the northern shore of West Lake Okoboji. The die-off is affecting primarily East and West Lakes Okoboji and the lower chain of lakes.
‘It looks like a fairly significant fish kill,’ said Mike Hawkins of the Iowa DNR. ‘I wouldn’t say it’s minor. There’s thousands of fish being affected. I don’t have a real good handle on whether we’re still ongoing or if it’s finished up or curtailing. It’s kind of hard to tell, but we’re continuing to see dead fish on the shoreline.’
The fisheries biologist was first called out to the State Pier area near Arnolds Park Amusement Park on Sept. 4.
‘That’s where we could see some live fish, out away from shore — but they were acting sick,’ he said. ‘There were some dead fish on the shore.’
Hawkins then went to Brown’s Bay, on the south end of West Lake Okoboji.
‘By going down to Brown’s Bay, you’re looking at a different part of the lake,’ he said. ‘It’s pretty hard, in a lake that size, to put enough pollutant in to have an effect on fish. Seeing some dead fish down in Brown’s Bay is kind of an indicator that it is disease-related.’
Live bass samples have been sent to a wildlife service office in LaCrosse, Wis. Staff members at a fish health and disease center there will try to determine whether the bass disease is viral or bacterial.” Read more.