Over 9,000 Pounds Of Fish Dead, Washing Up To Shore At Citizen's - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Over 9,000 Pounds Of Fish Dead, Washing Up To Shore At Citizen's Lake In Monmouth, IL

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It's a fish kill so massive that Citizen's Lake hasn't seen something like this in over 35 years. You can already see and smell the decay and as temperatures start warming up they say it's about to get a lot worse.

Over 9,000 pounds of fish suffocated underneath thick ice after this harsh winter. Ken Russell is a fisheries biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources who's been taking care of this lake for over 50 years. 

He said this is a tragic year for the fish and anglers, but what you see now is only a fraction of the amount of fish that'll be rising to the surface, belly up.

"As the water warms the fish carcasses that are on the bottom will gradually bloat," said Russell. "Some of them will never come to the surface. But it'll be several week and it won't be a pleasant sight, which it obviously isn't a pleasant sight now."

Russell said logistically it'll be very difficult to remove the tons upon tons of rotting fish. 

But city officials are worried about the stench because a campground sits right across from the lake. For now, they're not sure if they'll have the manpower to remove all the fish carcasses and they may have to let most of the decompose 

"The word was 'wow'. I can't believe this," said Monmouth City Clerk Susan Trevor. "It's amazing to see and it's also very sad."

Susan Trevor said she hopes citizens and campers will be patient as they're trying to figure out a clean-up plan. 

Ken Russell said there isn't a health hazard with the dead fish because the lake isn't used for swimming or drinking water. He said by summertime all the dead fish should be gone and they'll be busy restocking. 

"You just let the carcasses decompose and the nutrients then go back into the food chain," said Russell. "Hopefully this won't happen again for many, many years." 

IL-DNR said it'll take about 2 years to repopulate Citizen's Lake, meaning fisherman and anglers alike won't be able to fish here for quite a while. 

IL-DNR said fish kills are normal on lakes and ponds this time of the year. It happens when light cannot go through the ice. This slows the growth of algae and plants that produce the oxygen. This is more likely to happen in shallow ponds compared to deeper ones. That's because deeper ponds have a greater volume of oxygen and are more likely to sustain fish.


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