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Winterkill likely on some northwest N.D. lakes

Photo by Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald

A few lakes and reservoirs in northeast North Dakota likely will experience winter fishkills, which occur when snow and ice block out sunlight, inhibiting photosynthesis and reducing levels of dissolved oxygen fish need to survive.

"We haven't had any reports from the public, but our own dissolved oxygen testing has shown that Matejcek Dam in Walsh County, Battle Lake in Eddy County and Niagara Dam in Grand Forks County all had low oxygen levels and will likely suffer winterkill to some extent," said Todd Caspers, district fisheries biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake. "We haven't gotten around to all of our lakes yet, though, and other lakes that we already tested could get low on oxygen later in the winter, too."

Most lakes in the region have 8 inches to 12 inches of snow on top of the ice, he said.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998.  A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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