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Heavy Snow Leads To Winterkill In Lakes

Photo courtesy of the DNR

UNDATED — One of the snowiest winters in years has taken its toll on some of Minnesota’s fish.

A phenomenon called “winterkill” happens when the frozen lakes can’t get enough sunshine. With no sun, the plants can’t create oxygen through photosynthesis and fish die off.

Brad Parson is the Department of Natural Resources Central Region Fisheries Manager. He says it was an especially bad year for winterkill on smaller, more shallow lakes.

Parsons says while a partial “winterkill” can kill off thousands of gamefish, he says a total winterkill can rid the lake of unwanted carp and bullheads and with re-stocking can become a very good fishery.

Parsons says there are aeration systems that can be put into lakes to keep oxygen flow to the fish. He says the DNR doesn’t provide those systems or maintain them but can help a lake association get started.

If you know of a lake with “winterkill” you should contact your regional fisheries office.

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