Wildlife officials say major fish kill in Sparks caused by oxygen depletion

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Wildlife officials say major fish kill in Sparks caused by oxygen depletion

Up to 3,000 fish have died at Sparks Marina Park in the last few days. KUNR's Michelle Bliss reports that this major fish kill has ended and wildlife officials are now saying that oxygen depletion in the water is most likely to blame.

Chris Healy, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, says even though oxygen depletion is unusual in the winter, it's a natural occurrence and has nothing to do with water quality.

Despite how many fish have died, Healy says there won't be any long-term effects from this phenomenon.

"Sometimes, things like this do occur and fish populations will easily repopulate. We haven't lost every lake. Two to three thousand fish is a mere handful of what's actually probably in that reservoir, and so, we're going to be just fine."

The state started getting reports last week that fish were struggling. Healy says that by Saturday, thousands of fish were washing up near the cove and beach at the north end of the 77-acre lake.

"Anytime you have an oxygen deprivation, you're going to lose trout because they are the most sensitive to lack of oxygen in the water. We also lost some smallmouth bass and some large catfish. Now, catfish definitely can survive in low oxygenated water, but in this case, it reached levels that even the larger catfish had difficulty in surviving."

State officials have been removing the fish and will dispose of them. Healy says it's safe to go fishing at the lake and to eat what you catch.