SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As the ice continues to melt off South Dakota lakes, many shallow lakes are experiencing winter kill.
Matt Staab, owner of Northview Bait and Tackle, said he’s heard about several lakes that have experienced winter kill.
“Quite a few, we don’t know yet because the ice is still on them,” Staab said. “The state will get them restocked and in two years it’ll be good fishing again.”
KELOLAND News Chief Photographer Kevin Kjergaard captured video of a fish kill at Lake Albert in Kingsbury County.
According to a 2016 report from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, Lake Albert had a maximum depth of 13 feet and the mean depth of the lake was 8.8 feet. The report said Lake Albert experienced fish kill in 2004, 2001 and 1997.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, winter kill is the loss of fish in winter because oxygen was lacking in the waterbody.
In January, KELOLAND News looked at winter kill because of the heavy snow and ice in December.
Dan Loveland, with South Dakota Lakes and Streams Association, told KELOLAND News many bodies of water went into the winter with very low water levels.
“One of the big issues we really have this winter is that in most of eastern South Dakota, we had a really dry summer and fall,” Loveland said in January.
On the other end of the temperature spectrum, warm water temperatures and low water levels caused a fish kill at Lake Vermillion in 2021.
Jack Lauer, the southern Regional Fisheries Manager with the Minnesota DNR, told KELOLAND News a combination of low lake levels, early ice and thick snow creates the winter kill conditions on many shallow lakes.
“This is a natural process so we call it winter kill,” Lauer said. “It is a form of a fish kill but it wasn’t chemical induced or any other external cause. It was truly a lack of oxygen under the ice during the winter.”
KELOLAND’s Tom Hanson will have more coverage on winter kill on-air and online.