Reservoir surveyed after Golden Algae kill

Jason Angus Reporter

December 3, 2013

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation surveyed the Altus City West Reservoir for fish on Monday, to see if any fish survived the Golden Algae kill that caused numerous dead fish to wash up on shore in late October. The Regional Fisheries specialists set three different sized fish nets out across the water to catch a variety of fish sizes and species. The nets will sit for 24 hours before being checked for the remaining fish population.

“Depending on what we catch we’ll have an idea is there is anything left in the lake, and what kind of numbers we have,” said Larry Cofer, Regional Fisheries Supervisor for the OK Department of Wildlife Conservation.

After many Shad fish washed up dead on the banks of west Reservoir late October, due to a Golden Algae outbreak harmful to fish, it is possible that there are no fish left in the West Reservoir.

“The Golden Algae is what killed them. We just don’t know to what extent yet,” Cofer said.

“We’ll see about stocking down the road depending on how we come out in this survey, and restart it like we’re trying to do at Lugert. Some of it depends on how bad the kill is and how often it occurs, because at some point you have to say, ‘We’ll, if they’re just going to die every year, then you don’t want to restock them. So well watch it and see how it goes.”

Cofer explained that restocking efforts at Lack Lugert Altus have been under way, by adding a population of foraging fish for other fish to consume that have survived in the lake so far, and plan to restock the lake with sport fish next year.

“It all depends on how often Golden Algae pops back up, and how severe it is,” Cofer said.

Cofer explained that drought contributes to the blooming of Golden Algae, but is not the only cause. In that case, high salt content in water allows for it to flourish. As lake water evaporates, the salt in the water becomes more concentrated, thus the more likely Golden Algae will bloom.

“Drought is one factor, but it’s not the primary factor,” Cofer said.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will return this afternoon to finish their survey.