PADDOCK LAKE — Bow fishing, as opposed to an environmental fish kill, is behind the recent culling of hundreds of carp in Paddock Lake, administrator Tim Popanda said Thursday.
Flooding in July led to a rush of runoff into the lake, which, in turn, reduced oxygen levels, Popanda said.
“The carp are the most affected by it,” Popanda said. “When oxygen levels are low, carp come to the surface and it looks like the water is boiling.”
This can lead to a natural fish kill, and some carp perished as a result. However, Popanda said examination of recently found dead carp revealed the majority had holes caused by bow-fishing arrows.
“This is legal,” Popanda said, adding the anglers who cull the invasive species from the lake are actually helping improve the ecosystem.
According to information from the state Department of Natural Resources, an abundance of carp in a lake can lead to reduced water quality and an increase in algae blooms, which diminish the amount of light needed for native vegetation to survive.
Popanda said the dead carp started to show up in the shallows of the lake the last week of July. Several residents called with concerns.
“We have been picking them up with the weed harvester,” Popanda said. “We have retrieved well over 100 dead carp and disposed of them.”
Luke Roffler, a senior fisheries biologist for the DNR, also surveyed the lake in response to public concern. He saw only a handful of dead fish of multiple species. Multiple healthy panfish were also observed.
“Long story short, there were probably some fish killed by the recent floods and the resultant dissolved oxygen crash we saw in many waters,” Roffler wrote in an email in response to the concern. “Add in the carp shooting issue, and, I see no reason for system-wide concern at this point.”
Popanda is urging bow fishermen to remove and dispose of carp they kill. He said they just left the carp on the lakeshore near the weed harvester.