Heavy snow and ice cover on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during the colder months may lead to increased fish kill sightings, according to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources press release.
Winterkill is a common type of fish kill that occurs in ice-covered lakes, streams and ponds. As aquatic plants and animals die beneath the ice, bacteria responsible for decomposition consume dissolved oxygen, suffocating remaining organisms.
Fish killed by this process are often preserved by the cold water, and may go unnoticed for several weeks following a melt. Gary Whelan, research section manager of the DNR Fisheries Division asserted that these kills are normal and generally do not affect the health of fish populations.