Fish Kill Occurs on Lake Francis Case

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Lake Francis CaseCHAMBERLAIN, S.D.- South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks officials received reports of a fish kill on Lake Francis Case on Friday, July 25. Anglers reported large numbers of dead fish south of the White River confluence area. Department of Environment and Natural Resources staff were contacted and a GFP staff biologist was dispatched on Friday afternoon to survey the situation. 

Dead fish numbering in the hundreds were found from the mouth of the White River, down to the Elm Creek area. Species positively identified were native river fish including river carpsucker, channel catfish and paddlefish. Due to the decomposed condition of the fish, it is thought that the kill occurred earlier in the week.

After reports of the fish kill began to surface on Friday, other individuals who had been on Lake Francis Case in the vicinity of the White River earlier in the week reported seeing channel catfish and paddlefish exhibiting unusual behaviors.

The cause of the fish kill is currently unknown. Fish kills can occur naturally for a variety of reasons. High water temperatures, bacterial and viral infections, and low oxygen levels in the water are a few of the more common natural causes of fish kills. Fish kills stemming from toxic substances entering the water from human activities such as industrial or agricultural runoff can also occur. Isolated fish kills, such as the recent fish kill on Lake Francis Case, do not generally affect the long-term health of aquatic systems or fisheries quality.