Hundreds of fish are dying on Alexandria's Lake Agnes

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is investigating the cause of the kill, which is predominately black crappie.

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Hundreds of dead fish have been washing up on the shore of Lake Agnes, including these, photographed at City Park on Thursday, Aug. 26. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)

Hundreds of dead and dying fish have washed up on the shores of Lake Agnes in Alexandria, prompting about 10 reports to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Thursday, Aug. 26, the agency said.

"What we've heard is it's predominately black crappie," said Nick Rydell, DNR fisheries specialist in Glenwood.

The DNR sent a technician to Lake Agnes to count the dead fish and take samples.

Rydell said one possible cause is columnaris, a bacteria always present in water that can kill fish that are stressed. Columnaris is normally seen in the spring, when panfish are spawning and the water temperature warms rapidly. However, recent storms have caused rapid changes in water temperature, which may result in a columnaris fish kill, he said. Columnaris affects small panfish like crappies, and the bacteria will leave telltale lesions.

If other species are also dying, the cause could be something else, like low dissolved oxygen from storm runoff, Rydell said. In that case, the DNR will ship samples off to the Twin Cities for testing, and results may take weeks.


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The Minnesota DNR is investigating why hundreds of dead fish have washed up on the shores of Lake Agnes this week. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)

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