Man says thousands of fish turned up dead in Indiana lake

Published: Jul. 25, 2011 at 10:16 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2011 at 7:49 AM EDT
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Corey Lanier
Corey Lanier
Maria Hauersperger
Maria Hauersperger

SEYMOUR, IN (WAVE)- Imagine thousands of fish literally turn up dead in a lake near your home. That's just what happened at a lake in Seymour, Indiana. So, our viewers called us asking us to get answers.

Neighbors say they've never seen anything like this before.

Stinking, dead fish giving off a foul odor and floating in the lake is what Corey Lanier and his neighbors came across this weekend

"It was just a very overwhelming...just rotten fish smell," Corey Lanier said "We could smell it across the street from the lake."

Lanier and others live near Mutton Creek neighborhood lake. It sits behind their homes in Seymour.

"As soon as we walked over, there were thousands of dead fish floating in the pond," Lanier said.

Lanier estimates 2,000- 3,000 of them.

"I've never seen this many dead fish in one lake floating," Lanier said.

Maria Hauersperger's backyard goes right up too the lake.

"At first, I thought it was that something had maybe seeped into the lake," She said "Then we found out it was just really, they died of natural causes."

Debra King, Assistant Fisheries Biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said many things can cause a fish kill. In this case, she thinks the heat may be to blame.

King says the higher temperatures heat the water, reducing the levels of dissolved oxygen. King said that may have stressed the fish and killed them.

King says the fish look like they are a species called Shad. That's a filter feeder fish native to Indiana rivers and streams.

"It's unfortunate, but, I think ya know....nature does take it's course." Hauersperger said.

As the clean up of the smelly mess begins, for Lanier, this phenomenon serves as a learning point

"It's definitely helped me to be more aware of taking those heat warnings seriously. Staying inside, maybe, during the hottest parts of the day. Especially if you have young children like we do." He said.

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