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Hundreds of dead fish found at Oak Lake; experts say little can be done

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 8:50 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - There aren’t as many fish in Oak Lake right now, simply because the fish are dying.

Members of Lincoln fish groups posted pictures on Facebook, about a week ago, with hundreds of dead fish washed up on the banks of Oak Lake.

10/11 NOW checked with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, where wildlife experts explained that it happens often. It’s especially prevalent in Oak Lake and they said fish normally die in large numbers because of low oxygen levels.

Those low oxygen levels are caused by shallow water and wildlife experts said there’s very little that can be done to prevent this.

“Oak Lake is actually constructed over an old landfill, so there’s not a whole lot that can be done to deepen the lakes and improve the situation. Pretty much what you see is what you get,” said fisheries outreach manager, Daryl Bauer.

While these die offs are seen the most in Oak Lake, wildlife experts explained after the ice melts in the spring is when we usually notice it the most. This does affect the fish population, it also impacts Lincoln fishers and the overall ecosystem.

Wildlife experts explained that while little can be done, the ecosystem replenishes itself, and they advise not to mess with the fish on shore.

“Generally we leave them, I know it’s a stinky mess for awhile but those are nutrients that are recycled back into the system. Like I said, scavengers or something will take advantage of them and utilize them. Then they are recycled back into the system for that aquatic food chain,” said Bauer.

It does seem like a lot of fish, but wildlife experts said you probably won’t notice any less fish when out fishing.

The biggest piece of advice is to not be alarmed when this happens, as experts said it will probably happen again this summer.

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