An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the name of the lake that was experiencing higher than normal dead fish levels. The name of the lake is Lake Wichita. The story has been corrected. We apologize for the error.

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A foul odor and dead fish aren’t uncommon during the late summer months at Lake Wichita, but officials said it appears to be worse in 2022 than in previous years.

Residents and visitors to the lake have noticed large numbers of fish floating on the surface the last couple of days and Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists and game wardens made an on-site survey Wednesday.

Game warden Brandon Rose said the cause of the widespread fish kill is most likely oxygen depletion that can be caused by hot weather, low water levels, and less wind stirring up the water. These factors also can encourage algae blooms which can also deplete oxygen in the water and cause fish to die.

Captain Rose said it appears all types of fish are dying, including catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, and carp.
Inland Fisheries Department supervisor Robert Mauk said a water sample was taken Wednesday for golden algae, which is known to produce toxins that are lethal to some fish. No golden algae were detected.

Mauk said other forms of algae flourish in hot weather and especially when we’ve had some cloudy days, photosynthesis is slowed down and oxygen levels decrease. Also, recent rains brought in more organics that reduce oxygen as they decompose.

Mauk said they took an oxygen level reading this morning which showed at or below level 3 parts per million, and a healthy level is above 5 parts per million.

While posing no threat to people or other animals, Rose said the lake may be producing a very unpleasant odor in the coming days.