Fish Kill at Iowa Park Lake

Fish Kill at Iowa Park Lake

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials have been closely monitoring Gordon Lake in Iowa Park and say last week, it started showing disturbing signs that it is, in fact, dying.
The extreme and exceptional drought in Texoma has caused eight Texoma lakes to be classified as "dead" the by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. And yet another Wichita County lake may soon be added to that list.

For the past few months, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials have been closely monitoring Gordon Lake in Iowa Park. And they say last week, the lake started showing disturbing signs that it is, in fact, dying.

Instead spending so much time mowing the grass at Iowa Park's Gordon Lake during the drought city crews are busy scooping up dead fish. Dozens of the rotting fish litter the shoreline but it's not a big shock to Texas Parks and Wildlife officials.

They say because of the drought the lake has been on the agency's dead lake watch list in the area.

Although Gordon Lake looks like it still has quite a bit of water in it, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials say looks can, and in this case, are very deceiving. Officials say the level is so shallow city crews can walk  all the way across to  collect dead fish.

"When you take a lot of fish and you put them into less water you've got less oxygen being produced and you've got the same amount of mouths using it and that's not a good thing and that's what causes fish kills," says Tom Lang, Texas Parks & Wildlife district inland fisheries supervisor.

But Lang says that's not the only cause for the low oxygen level.

"A lot of folks like to feed the geese and ducks out here, which is a lot of fun, but they go to the bathroom and that causes phytoplankton blooms that can cause oxygen depletion in the lake, too," Lang says.

For now, Lang says these lethal water levels are not just killing gizzard shad and saugeye fish, which is a walleye hybrid, but also a great fishing opportunity.

"We had some really nice 20 plus inch Saugeye in this lake and it's one of the few lakes in the state that they actually are in so it was a unique fishing opportunity for the area that's now gone," Lang adds.

Parks and wildlife has five area lakes on the state's "watch list" but Lang says only Gordon Lake is currently suffering a fish kill and he expects fish to continue dying over the next week or so.
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