The bass in my lake are dying- any idea why?
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The bass in my lake are dying- any idea why?

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The bass in my lake are dying- any idea why?
Old 08-26-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
aunt kymmie's Avatar
The bass in my lake are dying- any idea why?

Not my usual sort of posting but I want to see if someone could give me some ideas on why the bass in my local ski lake are dying. It's a man-made lake, approx. 15 acres, 6 feet deep. It was stocked with 300 juvenile grass carp this spring. Today the caretaker found approx. 200 bass floating belly up.
Tomorrow I'll be able to post some pics of the fish and the water parameters but until then does anyone have an idea of why 200 bass would suddenly die??

Last edited by aunt kymmie; 08-27-2009 at 09:58 AM.. Reason: edit to info
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:57 AM   #2
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I would guess a lack of food such as shad,perch,minnows etc. Also consideing that carp will eat up all vegetation, it could be that the lack of plantlife is robbing the water of oxygen. Add to that the heat from climate where you are located and relatively shallow water and I would expect many more fish to perish. Warmer water,less oxygen. Carp are much more forgiving of poor water conditions than largemouth but they too could soon start to become affected. Another sign of not enough food(baitfish) for largemouth would be if bass all appear similar in size. All of this is only my opinion But I have seen the same thing happen during summer months here in missouri.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:41 AM   #3
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i was told years ago by a game warden, that if your fishing somewhere and you keep catching fish and their eyes seem to be bulging out, that the body of water your fishing has too many fish in it.......He explained that a bass' eyes will continue to grow while the body will cease growing due to lack of food and space in the water..........I dont think this is whats going on in the mentioned pond, but i did want to pass this info on............I also agree with what 1077 said, with the heat and depth of the pond it could be an oxygen issue
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:57 AM   #4
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I tested the water and it's 7.2 and zero for trIte, trAte and ammonia. How do you test for oxygen levels?
The owners of the lake had to lay off the caretaker after many years of service and some owners had expressed concern that there was a possibility that the caretaker was so bitter about this turn of events he had done something to poison the fish.
Given the lake's environment you both must be correct. Fishinpole, take a look at the pic. Poor quality pic (sorry), but I think you can see the bulging eyes. Lack of food, reduced oxygen, too many Also, I corrected the number in my first posting about the number of carp added. It was 300, not 1,000. I was confused...they paid $1,000 for 300 tiny grass carp.
I'll pass the info on to the lake owners so the poor caretaker can be exonerated. I'm sure the next question will be is how to oxygenate a small man-made lake.
Thanks so much for the info, you guys are the best!

(wish I knew how to make this pic smaller...)

Last edited by Amphitrite; 08-29-2009 at 08:49 AM..
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:55 AM   #5
Originally Posted by aunt kymmie View Post
(wish I knew how to make this pic smaller...)
Good ole' fashioned Microsoft Paint is your friend :D
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:59 AM   #6
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some small type of fountain in the center of the lake will help with the oxygen content of the water, but how much is dependent on the quanity of water in the lake, and how much water the fountain pump moves
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:17 PM   #7
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it is possible that some sort of contaminate got into the lake. i would suggest contacting your local veterinarian for forther diagnosis and toxicology
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:52 PM   #8
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I jut found out that it had rained pretty well last Saturday night. The lake is rimmed w/ trees which serves as a windbreak to keep the water glassy for skiing. It's possible the fertilizer washed into the water. They rimmed the trees around the lake with standard type fertilizer this past June and this rain was the first since the application of the fertilizer. Sound like the culprit? Hope so as this one owner is convinced it was sabotage by the "released from duty" caretaker. I've known this caretaker for 8 years and know he'd never do such a thing.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:50 AM   #9
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I would think that comtaminate,pesticide, fertilizer,etc would eventually affect all fish not just one species. The three hottest months of the year combined with relatively shallow water,perhaps not enogh plant life to help produce oxygen in the water,and possible lack of bait fish for bass to feed on ,all have a cumulative effect. We use very large aerators in small community lakes in my part of the midwest due to the shallow waters of most and lack of oxygen during the hottest part of the year. Have seen whole populatons of fish,, Bass,carp,and catfish ,in that order begin dieing if these small lakes aren't aerated. Some aerators are attached to floating stuctures and others are hung from cables which are anchored on either side of the lake. The fact that this appears to be one species thus far,,would not indicate poisoning to me. Fish die off's I have seen began with bass,then the carp,and lastly were the catfish. I have my doubt's,and others should too,, that the gardner did it.

Last edited by 1077; 08-29-2009 at 12:52 AM..
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:31 PM   #10
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Here where I live in northwestern Iowa we have an extensive lake and wetland system. One of 3 true blue freshwater lakes in the world is less than 5 minutes away and the connecting lakes system is literally across the road from my driveway. Growing up here, and being a person interested in fish has led me to gain a fairly decent understanding of how events like the ones you have described take place. In fact, just last week we had a fairly small fish kill on the lake just up the road from my house where close to 1000 fish died overnight. At this time of year in fairly shallow lakes (and indeed man made lakes and ponds) this is fairly common due to low oxygen levels in the water. As fish continue to grow over the course of time after spring spawns, it is only a matter of time before a small body of water left to it's own devices reaches its maximum biological potential and nature has to take over. Water temps and weather has quite a bit to do with it as well. As I'm sure you know, oxygen transfer takes place at the surface due to agitation, and in calmer, hotter summer months...especially in periods of low rainfall and wind...the level of oxygenation just doesn't get to the point it needs to be and the result is a natural culling. As others have said, artificial aeration would probably be one of the better solutions for the people trying to stock this lake. Several of the smaller, shallower lakes in my area are aerated year round, even through the winter months to keep populations high enough to keep the systems from being overfished. The three largest and biggest lakes in the area don't have this problem because they are so large, but like I said, any small, shallow body of water will eventually reach a point where biological potential is met and without intervention, a fish kill will be the result.

As far as the pesticide issue goes...that could very well have contributed to the problem. From what I understand when fertilizer is introduced into a body of water, it isn't necessarily the chemicals themselves that kill the fish, but a buildup of nitrates as a result of the fertilizer. I could be wrong on that but, it's very possible the chemicals could affect the more sensitive and less hardy fish to the point of death. A small pond is essentially a big outdoor aquarium...ok...a really really big outdoor aquarium...and it needs to be maintained in the same way a controlled enclosed environment like an aquarium does since it is not a naturally occurring ecosystem and doesn't necessarily have all the safeguards and natural limitations that a non man made lake does. Hopefully they will be more careful in the future once they figure out the root of the problem, and won't be destroying large populations of fish, which I'm sure is costly and is really just a shame if it could have been avoided.

Last edited by Herky; 08-31-2009 at 12:39 PM..
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