Lack of oxygen kills fish at Gurdon Lake.
A large fish kill occurred at the Gurdon Lake on Thursday, due to low oxygen levels. That's the findings according to Arkansas Game and Fish Biologist and Fish Pathologist Kelly Winningham.
Thousands of brim, crappie, bass and catfish washed up on shore all around the lake. "This is a natural occurrence," said Winningham, "We were worried about this lake because of the low water levels and the heat. I expect to see more of this in lakes and farmers ponds."
Game Warden Ricky Frazier and Gurdon City Marshal Don Childres were on hand to keep onlookers from picking up the fish. "We have to wait for the biologist to get here and make a determination on what killed the fish," said Frazier. "If they are safe to eat we will let people take them home."
"It's a tragedy," said Jesse Thompson of Gurdon. He has been fishing the lake for over 17 years and has never seen anything like it. Thompson had his eye on one big catfish that was still alive. "I never knew there was catfish that big in this lake." He estimated the weight of the fish to be 70 pounds. When the all clear was given and the fish determined safe to eat, Thompson retrieved the flathead cat and took it home. "I can get a lot of filets out of this one," he said.
Willingham said, "The oxygen level in the lake is 3.3 to 3.4 and it's already come up some from overnight. Photosynthesis occurs during the day and increases the oxygen, respiration occurs over night and depletes the oxygen. The lowest levels occur between 3 a.m. and daybreak. A healthy level of oxygen for this time of day should be seven or eight or higher."