Rainbow trout at Lee’s Lake – 04/06/2004

  • September 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm #443

    By Tami Van Dusen

    Crowsnest Pass Promoter — Rainbow trout at Lees Lake have died of
    natural causes this winter.

    Reports of many of the fish washing up dead on the shores this winter
    led area fisheries biologist Daryl Wig to take a closer look at the
    situation. It’s reassuring to know that the fish haven’t been the
    victim of anything other than nature’s own process, he says.
    “It’s sort of a typical thing,” he said. “We’ve no reason to suspect
    anything different.”

    Growing plants give off plenty of oxygen. When they start to die, the
    decomposing plants give off less oxygen. That means less air for the
    fish to breathe, which is what happened at Lees Lake.
    But, according to reports from anglers, the catch rate from Lees Lake
    is still “fairly good,” indicating that the fish population is doing
    okay, says Wig.

    Another thing that could cause a winter fish kill is a sudden
    overabundance of plant growth in a lake caused by, for example,
    increased fertilizer from nearby farms or ranches. That hasn’t
    happened in this case, said Wig.

    A third cause of winterkill is extremely thick ice or heavy snow on a
    lake, which also didn’t happen at Lees Lake this winter. The lake is
    about 45 feet deep at the west-end and 10-15 feet deep in most other

    While winterkill of fish isn’t uncommon, the fact that it has
    happened at Lees Lake is uncommon. The last incident occurred in the
    winter of 1978-79, says Wig. Other lakes in the area have had
    winterkill, including Phillips Lake which is located high on the
    other side of the Crowsnest Range.

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