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Published July 22 2012

Heat, flooding blamed for fish kill on Minnesota lake

DULUTH, Minn. — Warm weather and recent flooding are being blamed for a fish kill on Big Sandy Lake, about 60 miles west of Duluth.

Mike Bruesewitz, Aitkin area fisheries manager for the Department of Natural Resources, tells Minnesota Public Radio that heavy rains last month washed a lot of decayed organic material into the lake. When it reached warm water, microbes in the material consumed the dissolved oxygen that fish need to survive.

Bruesewitz says dead northern pike, perch and crappies have been found in Big Sandy. But he says warm-water species like bass and panfish should be OK. He also says fish populations are resilient and usually rebound without much intervention

High temperatures have also been blamed for killing thousands of fish in several southern Minnesota lakes in recent weeks.