Thunder Bay

Fish kill in Greenstone, Ont. raises concerns

A significant fish kill in the Greenstone area of northwestern Ontario has left many lakes and rivers in the area fouled by rotten carcasses, and residents concerned. Some of the lakes where dead fish have been noticed include popular destinations like Kenogamisis, Chipman and Long Lake.

Longlac resident Brian Desrochers said he counted 50 dead walleye in one outing

A fish kill on several Greenstone lakes, has created concern among local people. (photo: Brian Desrochers)

A significant fish kill in the Greenstone area of northwestern Ontario has left many lakes and rivers in the area fouled by rotten carcasses, and residents concerned.

Some of the lakes where dead fish have been noticed include popular destinations like Kenogamisis, Chipman and Long Lake.

Brian Desrochers is a resident of Longlac.

He said he first noticed something was off last Thursday, July 9 when he went fishing near the town launch.

"As soon as I got to the to the boat landing I could smell fish," he said. "And I was kinda upset the locals hadn't removed the guts from the fish cleaning station. But as I got onto the water I quickly realized what it was. All along the river we started seeing dead fish upside down and along the shoreline."

Desrochers said all the dead fish he could see were walleye, mostly larger ones. He estimated he found at least 50 different dead walleye, mostly stuck in the reeds.

Desrochers said it was upsetting to see so many fish floating dead on the water, especially during National Fishing Week in Canada.

He also said the fish kill was a first in the Greenstone area in his recollection. "I've lived in Longlac for 30 years, and I've never seen anything like this," Desrochers said.

The OMNRF said poor water quality is suspected to have contributed to the fish die-offs in Greenstone, Ont. (photo: Brian Desrochers)

Michelle Nowak is a regional outreach specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF).

She said the OMNRF was aware of the fish kill and had a theory about why it had occurred. Nowak said that water temperatures of 30 C had been noted along the Aguasabon water system during the time of the die-off. 

"Poor water quality is suspected to have contributed to the fish die-offs," she said. "Water temperatures have been consistently warmer than normal and warm water contains low dissolved oxygen which is a stresser to a variety of fish species."

Nowak said fish kill events of this nature should be reported to the ministry using the toll free number 1-800-667-1940.

"Callers will be asked to provide their name and contact information as well as details about the fish location," she said.

"With as close as possible coordinates, township and water body as well as the number and species of fish affected, and if the fish are dying, dead or decomposed."

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