TWRA responds to concerns of more dead fish on Chickamauga Lake

dead fish


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Fishermen and others continue to post video and stories of fish kills on Chickamauga Lake.

They say the problem continues since TWRA investigated last week.

At the time, TWRA officials said the die-off wasn’t statistically significant and that they could not find any poison or spill causing it.

Wildlife officials tells us they have continued to monitor the situation and are NOT finding any ongoing problem.

Here is their release:

Crossville –Today, TWRA biologists completed another survey of Chickamauga Reservoir and found no additional dead or sick catfish, signaling a potential improvement in conditions.

Officials have continuously monitored the situation throughout the week and have found only those catfish found during previous inspections. Agency biologists have covered over 130 miles of shoreline during surveys and are working closely with Auburn University’s Southeastern Cooperative Fish Parasite and Disease Laboratory to investigate potential causes of the catfish die-off. 

The agency has not found evidence of toxins or chemical spills that could have caused the issue. TWRA has coordinated with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for water quality testing that falls within their jurisdiction.  Testing found normal levels for fish species, and no fish consumption or swimming alerts have been issued for the area.
Natural fish die-offs can occur due to warm waters, lower oxygen content and other events such as outbreak of naturally occurring pathogens. The types of markings or wounds on the fish being seen are not unusual in reservoirs in the southeastern United States during spring and early summer, as water temperatures begin to increase. 

            TWRA initially received calls regarding dead catfish on Chickamauga Lake, the first week of May. Primarily catfish around one pound, in the same age range have been observed. Biologists have been monitoring a large expanse of lake since this time, covering and sampling areas above Hiwassee Island on both the Tennessee River and Hiwassee River. Crews also surveyed areas into Grasshopper Creek and Sale Creek. Additionally, areas from Chester Frost Park and the Harrison Bay area have been monitored. 

TWRA will continue working with partnering agencies to manage fish populations and ensure public safety at Chickamauga Reservoir. 

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