MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minnesota lakes are seeing dead fish pile up along their shores. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said there has been an increase in fish die-offs across the state due to this stretch of hot weather.
“This is a rare occurrence. We have such extreme drought conditions right now,” said Tom Burri.
Burri is a limnologist consultant for the DNR. He said rapidly warming lake temperatures put stress on fish, making them more susceptible to infections. That’s resulted in large groups of dead fish in northern Minnesota lakes and even in cities like Burnsville and Eden Prairie.
“It’s not uncommon in Minnesota; it happens every year. But with the remarkably hot weather for the duration that we’ve had it, it’s an extremely stressful year for fish and there is more fish die-off than normal,” said Burri.
Burri said all species are can be impacted, from carp and bullheads to crappies and walleyes.
He said the majority of Twin Cities lakes look good right now, but he’s asking people to report fish kills if they see them. The prolonged heat and dry weather could make them more common in coming weeks.
“Middle of June we are seeing middle of July-type temperatures, so we’ve been a month ahead all this spring and summer,” said Burri.
There are some positives that can come with a hot, dry summer. Lakes and rivers are like aquatic gardens, which means water and lots of sun help jump-start plant growth. That can rejuvenate some fish species and it can also give the DNR a chance to help shape a lake’s future.
“Sometimes these provide an opportunity for stocking or rebalancing that fish community,” said Burri.
If you do see a fish die-off, the DNR would like you to report it by calling either 800-422-0798 or 651-649-5451. Specifically, they would like to know what fish types and sizes you are seeing.