Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Northern Minnesota river fish kill: Low oxygen levels blamed

Thousands of fish, including many game fish, have died in a fish kill on the Pelican River near Orr, said Kevin Peterson, Department of Natural Resources area fisheries supervisor at International Falls.

"It was a substantial fish kill. It's an unfortunate loss of our fisheries resource," Peterson said.

The kill, probably caused by low oxygen levels in the water, occurred in an approximately 2-mile stretch of the Pelican River from the dam at St. Louis County Highway 23 and downstream past U.S. Highway 53, Peterson said. The fish kill was first reported Thursday, March 15, Peterson said. A fisheries crew visited the site Monday and traveled the river by canoe to assess the extent of the kill.

"They saw a lot of northern pike, one smallmouth bass, lots and lots and lots of black crappies - probably thousands from 3 inches and up,"

Peterson said. "They saw some larger bluegills up to 10 inches, lots of yellow perch and bullheads and suckers."

Tom Burri, assistant area fisheries supervisor at International Falls, was part of the crew that checked out the kill. Read More