Local lakes are not in danger of fish fill

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 1/5/00.

Low water levels could mean trouble for fish in some lakes, but not for Koronis, Rice, or Long Lake.

"I don't expect to see any short or long-term problems for Koronis, Rice, or Long Lake," Bruce Gilbertson, Department of Natural Resources, fisheries, said.

Rice Lake is about 1.4 feet below average while Koronis is only one-tenth of a foot below normal. Long Lake, near Hawick, is close to normal. "Long Lake has a significant ground water flow into the lake which helps maintain its level," Gilbertson said.

The lowest level on record for Rice Lake is 1988 when it was two feet below normal.

Gilbertson said Rice Lake and Lake Koronis don't have any significant levels of fluctuation, even if the dry periods are extended into the next summer. Both lakes are located in a large watershed area. He added both lakes are well oxygenated and have no history of winter fish kill problems.

"We are typically concerned with fish kill in shallow lakes as the ice cover blocks the oxygen exchange during the winter months," Gilbertson said.

Koronis and Rice are both rather deep lakes with large volumes of oxygen available to plant and fish life, he added. Another factor is that due to the late freeze and lack of snow cover, the lakes are still getting plant growth, which produces oxygen for the fish.

"A mild winter is a wonderful situation to enjoy. However, the fisheries department would like to see the winter kill of undesirable fish in shallow ponds. The shallow ponds are used as rearing ponds for walleye fingerlings. The fingerlings have a better chance of survival if the other fish are gone," Gilbertson said.

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