Harsh winter kills estimated 35,000 fish on Grand Lake near Duluth; last big die-off in 1950s

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 - 12:13 PM

DULUTH, Minn. — Last winter's heavy snowfall is partly to blame for a fish kill that took out tens of thousands of walleye, bass, northern pike and other species on Grand Lake near Duluth.

Dan Wilfond, Department of Natural Resources fisheries specialist for the Duluth area, said even bullhead were among the species affected — an indicator that the fish kill was fairly severe. He estimates roughly 35,000 fish died.

Wilfond said the 1,600-acre Grand Lake is somewhat susceptible to winter fish kills and its oxygen concentrations are monitored annually. That said, the lake hasn't had a severe winter kill documented since the 1950s.

He said heavy snow cover contributed to the die-off, because thick snow lets less light into the lake and aquatic plants can't produce oxygen.

"It's a pretty popular lake in the area ... so residents and local anglers are certainly going to be very disappointed about this," he said.

Because of the kill, the DNR is going to stock walleye in Grand Lake over the next three years.

"We anticipate in a few years there will be some pretty good fishing out there, particularly for walleye," he said.

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