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Thousands Of Black Crappies Found Dead At Pineview Reservoir

Aug 7, 2019, 5:45 PM
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HUNTSVILLE, Utah – Dead fish washed up over the weekend along the sandy shores of Pineview Reservoir, forcing visitors to watch their step while attempting to dodge the odor.

“When you’re closer to the shore, you can smell it,” said Camille Roth as she warned Lisa Simmons back away from the shoreline on Monday.

Simmons said her kids had already found several of the fish in the water, as well as on the beach.

“It’s just kind of gross,” Simmons replied. “My kids went right into the water and found three dead fish (right away).”

Scientists said they believed the thousands of black crappie perished recently.

While water quality test results were still pending, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources aquatics biologist Chris Penne said it appeared the fish may have died due to a combination of high population, summer’s heat and other natural causes.

“Water actually holds less oxygen the warmer it gets and so when it gets hot, they have a more challenging time breathing,” Penne explained.

He said lower water levels and larger populations likely added to the issue.

“Just like a lot of other reservoirs in Utah, Pineview Reservoir is used for irrigation, municipal uses, power generation. That water gets lower, the fish get concentrated. They get stressed. They get crowded, and when that happens, they’re a lot more susceptible to bacterial infection, even disease and starvation.”

Penne said so far this year, scientists have not uncovered any evidence of harmful algal blooms at the reservoir.

“This is a natural phenomenon,” Penne reassured. “We’re just seeing so many dead fish right now because populations are high at Pineview.”

That didn’t stop reservoir visitors from speculating and lamenting after spotting the deceased fish.

“There’s been a lot,” remarked Karlee Inman. “It’s sad, though, that these fish are all the way up here. They didn’t even get a chance to enjoy themselves.”

Savannah Holse, age 10, said she attempted to give the fish a proper burial.

“I started picking the fishies up and I started making a little fishie grave over there,” she said. “My cousin, Ashley – she was really scared of it and she was like, ‘eww gross!’”

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Thousands Of Black Crappies Found Dead At Pineview Reservoir