Heat kills freshly-stocked trout population at Sibbald Lake
'It doesn't seem safe or hygienic one bit for kids to be in the water,' says camp director
Hundreds of dead fish are rotting on the shore of a lake in Kananaskis Country, after low water levels combined with above average temperatures dealt a fatal blow to the lake's trout population over the weekend.
Sibbald Lake, which was freshly stocked with an additional 1,000 rainbow trout on Friday, was lined with fish corpses and swarming flies by Monday.
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"It's possible that everything we put in, unfortunately has died," said Ryan Lyster, a fish hatchery technician with the province.
"The main thing is disappointment … we raised these fish for a year," he added.
Lyster says the temperature was about 16.5 degrees, oxygen levels were normal, and other conditions were favourable when they stocked the lake on Friday.
But over the weekend, higher-than-average temperatures caused the already low water levels to warm to 23 C.
"That's possibly the reason why we had a fish die-off over the weekend," he said, adding that Sibbald Lake's water level has also dropped in recent years as a result of low spring precipitation.
Some were not too impressed on social media, as the forecast called for hot weather early this week.
Lyster does not know when the province may add more fish, but said the officials will send someone Wednesday to clear out the corpses.
Meanwhile, organizers of kids camps were dismayed at the state of the lake.
"It's pretty gross," said Raj Sisodiya, the assistant director of the Camp Adventure kids' summer camp there.
"I don't want kids to be swimming in this water with dead fish," Sisodiya said. "It doesn't seem safe or hygienic one bit for kids to be in the water."
Camp Adventure says it will get the water tested and decide what steps to take before kids begin arriving in July.
With files from Kate Adach