Lake Winter Kill?

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CORKSCREW
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Lake Winter Kill?

Anyone out there experiencing winter fish kills on their favorite lakes and ponds? With all the snow cover I figure there has to be some die offs happening somewhere.

The Green Hornet
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Makoti lake must have winterkilled this year.  It was decent last winter for some nice pike, but I was out over the weekend to try it and immediately when walking towards the lake it had a strong rotten egg/sulfur smell.  I walked out a ways and drilled a few holes and dead minnows started to float up out of the holes and the odor was super strong.  I assume this means that the lake has suffered a total winterkill.  I tried it anyways for a few hours with no luck.  Sad sight to see.  Hopefully it's not a total winterkill, but as strong as that rotten egg/suflur smell and dead minnows floating up the hole I assume the fish are all totally dead.  Bad news...

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The Green Hornet
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The Green Hornet Said:
Makoti lake must have winterkilled this year.  It was decent last winter for some nice pike, but I was out over the weekend to try it and immediately when walking towards the lake it had a strong rotten egg/sulfur smell.  I walked out a ways and drilled a few holes and dead minnows started to float up out of the holes and the odor was super strong.  I assume this means that the lake has suffered a total winterkill.  I tried it anyways for a few hours with no luck.  Sad sight to see.  Hopefully it's not a total winterkill, but as strong as that rotten egg/suflur smell and dead minnows floating up the hole I assume the fish are all totally dead.  Bad news...

Allen, you are/were a fish biologist.  Can you shed some light on this on whether you think any fish could survive that?  Thanks guys for any replies and hopefully more lakes don't suffer this fate this winter.

"The Green Hornet's caught more fish than you've lied about Gustafson!"

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Man that is not good news,   How deep is makoti lake ?         I am no expert but I expect that anything in the lake that is big enough to die is already dead. 

 

 

 

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The Green Hornet.

Umm, if that was for me, sorry but I am not a fisheries biologist.  I have a good deal of experience in water quality though and the conditions you describe are only possible with less than about 0.2 mg/L of dissolved oxygen.  To my knowledge that is lower than that tolerated by any of our desirable fish species.  I think that limit is 2-4 mg/L but something greater than 6 is desirable. 

The smell you describe is undoubtedly hydrogen sulfide (H2S).  Hydrogen sulfide is a strong indicator of low oxygen levels as it readily breaks down into water and sulfate in the presence of dissolved oxygen.  A person sees H2S a lot in the mud of a wetland (the bubbles you see coming up as you walk around putting out decoys) without killing off the fish, but when it is in the water column itself it's a really bad deal.

If you were out in the open water area of the lake it is most likely a near 100% die off.  If you were in some back bay, it is possible that only that bay is really strongly affected and fish in other parts of the lake can survive.  Wouldn't bet on it though with as much ice time as we still have left.

Sorry man, time to expand your search for a fishing hole until the NDGF gets to restock the lake.

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I wonder how high the H2S level can get close to a newly drilled ice hole ?      It is deadly stuff,   I saw a pumper open a hatch in an oil tank and look in and with one sniff  he stiffened up and fell off the tank backwards.   Less than 1000 PPM can send you to the grave.

 

 

 

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Thats why I always wear my H2s monitor!and always open all three hatches right away and don't stick your face over them!!

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Good points Geo and Murdock.  H2S, also often called sewer gas, is quite lethal.  1000 ppm (1%) of it in the air and you are dead before your face hits the floor after one breath.

Thankfully, the human nose is really sensitive to it.  We can easily smell it down to something around 25(?) ppm. 

Don't know that I have ever heard of a fisherman getting in trouble because of it.  I've been close once or twice while working in the oilpatch.  Ran out of oxygen once when the tanks pop-off valve went in the heat when masked up.  Rude as heck to hit the end of the 100 ft long hose attached to your mask at a full run.  Note, I was a lot faster back then! 

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The Green Hornet
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Geothermal Said:
Man that is not good news,   How deep is makoti lake ?         I am no expert but I expect that anything in the lake that is big enough to die is already dead. 

Geo, the lake at it's deepest gets about 10 feet at it's max I believe, most is 6-8.

Allen Said:
The Green Hornet.

Umm, if that was for me, sorry but I am not a fisheries biologist.  I have a good deal of experience in water quality though and the conditions you describe are only possible with less than about 0.2 mg/L of dissolved oxygen.  To my knowledge that is lower than that tolerated by any of our desirable fish species.  I think that limit is 2-4 mg/L but something greater than 6 is desirable. 

The smell you describe is undoubtedly hydrogen sulfide (H2S).  Hydrogen sulfide is a strong indicator of low oxygen levels as it readily breaks down into water and sulfate in the presence of dissolved oxygen.  A person sees H2S a lot in the mud of a wetland (the bubbles you see coming up as you walk around putting out decoys) without killing off the fish, but when it is in the water column itself it's a really bad deal.

If you were out in the open water area of the lake it is most likely a near 100% die off.  If you were in some back bay, it is possible that only that bay is really strongly affected and fish in other parts of the lake can survive.  Wouldn't bet on it though with as much ice time as we still have left.

Sorry man, time to expand your search for a fishing hole until the NDGF gets to restock the lake.

Allen, sorry about the fisheries biology mix up :) . 

We were in the open part of the lake, so yeah it's probably toast.  Oh well, I guess mother nature decides.    You used to see a ton of water bugs/shrimp come up the holes the last few years but nothing but dead minnows came up the holes over the weekend.   Could be a dumb question, but does anyone know what dies off first in a winterkill?  Can minnows or waterbugs/shrimp last longer than the fish, or do the minnows and waterbugs/shrimp typically the first ones to die?

Thanks for all the info

green

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I am personally not in the know of the order in which low dissolved oxygen affects the aquatic species.

Anecdotally, I have always seen some evidence that larger fish of a given species seem to be the first to go.  Mostly observed this with pike in a couple smaller lakes.

Wish I was a fisheries biologist at times.  Then maybe I would have fewer crappy days on the water.

 

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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Come on Allen, you know there is no such thing as a crappy day on the water. A bad day at the office, yes, on the water, never! 

Allen Said:

I am personally not in the know of the order in which low dissolved oxygen affects the aquatic species.

Anecdotally, I have always seen some evidence that larger fish of a given species seem to be the first to go.  Mostly observed this with pike in a couple smaller lakes.

Wish I was a fisheries biologist at times.  Then maybe I would have fewer crappy days on the water.

 

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Iam not exactly sure at what level you can smell it.But at 1000ppm you will not smell it.I think at 100ppm there is no smell??must of been sleeping during that part of the safety meeting

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murdock1978 Said:
Iam not exactly sure at what level you can smell it.But at 1000ppm you will not smell it.I think at 100ppm there is no smell??must of been sleeping during that part of the safety meeting

Ha ha.

All I know is they say if you can smell it you are doing good.  If you cannot, well, too late...yur dead.


 

 

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  • 0.00047 ppm is the recognition threshold, the concentration at which 50% of humans can detect the characteristic odor of hydrogen sulfide, normally described as resembling "a rotten egg".

  • Less than 10 ppm has an exposure limit of 8 hours per day.

  • 10–20 ppm is the borderline concentration for eye irritation.

  • 50–100 ppm leads to eye damage.

  • At 100–150 ppm the olfactory nerve is paralyzed after a few inhalations, and the sense of smell disappears, often together with awareness of danger.

  • 320–530 ppm leads to pulmonary edema with the possibility of death.

  • 530–1000 ppm causes strong stimulation of the central nervous system and rapid breathing, leading to loss of breathing.

  • 800 ppm is the lethal concentration for 50% of humans for 5 minutes exposure (LC50).

  • Concentrations over 1000 ppm cause immediate collapse with loss of breathing, even after inhalation of a single breath.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_sulfide

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Although very pungent at first, it quickly deadens the sense of smell, so potential victims may be unaware of its presence until it is too late.

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Die knowing you'll live forever.

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Make sure to report any suspected winter kill to the Game and Fish.

 
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The Green Hornet
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skoalongcut Said:

Make sure to report any suspected winter kill to the Game and Fish.

Hey skoal how goes it?  Do you know who would be the guy to contact at game and fish and I'll shoot them an email.  I'm thinking maybe Greg Power?

Thanks,
Green.

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The Green Hornet Said:

skoalongcut Said:

Make sure to report any suspected winter kill to the Game and Fish.

Hey skoal how goes it?  Do you know who would be the guy to contact at game and fish and I'll shoot them an email.  I'm thinking maybe Greg Power?

Thanks,
Green.

The going is good. You can call whoever is in charge of the section the lake is in, here is the list.  Or just e-mail the Bismarck headquarters.

gf.nd.gov/about/staff/fish.html

 
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I was listening to a fish biologist on kfgo on saturday and he said that trout require the most oxygen at 4 mg/L, then walleye, then perch then northern pike have been known to survive on less than 2 mg/l.  Of course the fish that can survive on the least oxygen is bull heads and carp.  Would be nice if the chart worked the other way around!  He also said that if the minnows are comming up dead. thats is the best indication of a winter killed lake.

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