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MDC Identifies Cause of Fish Die-Offs at Table Rock



Biologists with the Missouri Department of Conservation believe fish that have been found dead recently at Table Rock Lake died from natural events.  They suspect oxygen depletion is to blame and that the lake’s health and overall water quality are fine. 

Last Friday, biologists investigated reports of dead fish seen on the western side of the lake in Barry County.  Another report of dead fish in the James River Arm in Stone County came in on Wednesday.  MDC says, based on observations and readings that have been taken, it appears that low oxygen levels are the cause.  They say the low levels are the result of a chain of events that began with recent heavy rains. 

MDC Fisheries biologist, Shane Bush, who oversees fishery management at Table Rock Lake, says parts of Table Rock have turned a greenish color in recent weeks due to a large planktonic algae bloom.  He says that’s common when water temperatures warm up following high inflows of water into the reservoir. The water, which is high in nutrients, causes algae growth, and when that algae die off, they use up much of the oxygen in the water.  He says the higher the water temperature, the less oxygen it can hold.  According to Bush, it may take several weeks for some spots to cycle through this phase, and there may be more smaller fish die-offs before it’s over.

He encourages anglers who see dead fish on Table Rock to contact him at 417-334-4859 or at

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.