Warm, dry weather killing fish at Claytor Lake, DGIF says

By  | 

PULASKI CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Dead Striped Bass are showing up in Claytor Lake. It's discouraging fishermen and people who maintain the lake.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says the weather is to blame. Low inflow into the lake and warmer temperatures, including warmer water temperatures, are turning into a deadly combination.

"It has happened in the past and it will happen again in the future," said Bill Kittrell, the regional fisheries manager with DGIF.

Fishermen are finding dozens of dead Striped Bass in the lake. It started Saturday and has only gotten worse.

Bill Kittrell with DGIF tell us those fish are looking for cooler water and having a hard time finding it. They're also not getting enough oxygen in the depths of the lake.

"There is really no way to get oxygen in to those lower layers of water and that's where the problem occurs is on warm, dry years typically," Kittrell said.

It's happened before in 2010, 2007, and again in 2002.

"It's very discouraging to us as fisheries managers because we stock these fish we manage with regulations. So to see really some trophy size fish turning up dead is very discouraging," Kittrell said.

He says this natural phenomenon typically doesn't last long, only when it's really hot. He says it's OK to play and boat in the water just stay away from, and don't eat, the fish.