Massive fish kill at eastern South Dakota low head dam

Dakota News NowJanuary 25, 2023News
Dakota News Now

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Over the past several days, hundreds of dead fish have piled up on the rocks of a low head dam on the east side of Huron. A spokesperson for South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks confirmed Tuesday that the pileup of dead fish at the James River dam in Huron this weekend is a sizeable winterkill.

Winterkill is the loss of fish due to exposure to winter conditions.

Nick Harrington from Game, Fish, and Parks stated multiple factors can contribute to winterkill, such as low water and lack of dissolved oxygen.

“Low oxygen levels may stress fish, and overextended periods of time can cause mortality,” Harrington said. “Winterkills such as this can happen in lakes and streams when water levels are low and heavy snow prevents sunlight from reaching the water column.”

According to Harrington, shortnose and longnose gar and silver and bighead carp make up much of this particular winterkill.

Game, Fish, and Parks continues to have staff on site to monitor the situation.

Fisheries staff from Game, Fish, and Parks monitor winterkill through the spring. “Based on the severity and species lost, GFP will make stocking recommendations for impacted waterbodies as deemed necessary,” said Harrington.