- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department is asking anglers to report any lakes that might have experienced fish winterkill.

Winterkill happens when heavy snowfall blocks sunlight from going into lakes. Plants die and stop giving off oxygen, and they also consume oxygen as they decompose. That limits oxygen available for fish.

Fisheries management section leader Scott Gangl says some winterkill is expected every year, with the severity depending on winter weather. For example, record snowfall during the 2008-09 winter led to a major fish kill on about 50 North Dakota lakes.

Gangl says he doesn’t anticipate major widespread fish kills this year, despite heavy snow in December. Biologists will begin sampling suspected winterkill lakes later this spring once fish spawning operations are completed to document the severity of any die-offs.

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