Number of dead trout at Lake Shawnee reaches 200; some were deceased when they were put in water


Some of the rainbow trout that have been washing up on shore on Lake Shawnee were already dead when they were poured into that lake as it was stocked Feb 23, an official says.

Temperatures were low and the ground was icy and slick around the boat ramp where the stocking took place, making it unsafe at the time to try to recover the expired fish, said Mike McLaughlin, of Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.

“This is why fish are being seen washing up along the boat ramp area,” said McLaughlin, the department’s communications and public information supervisor.

Shawnee County park maintenance staff as of Monday had removed 200 deceased rainbow trout from the lake, McLaughlin said.

Many of those either washed up on shore or were found dead in the shallow water near the lake’s south boat dock.

Lake to get replacement trout. McLaughlin said Crystal Lake Fisheries in Ava, Mo., which provides the trout, told the parks and recreation department it released about 6,000 rainbow trout, weighing a total of about 7,000 pounds, into the lake Feb. 23.

The fishery has agreed to replace the number of expired trout that are recovered by parks and recreation staff, McLaughlin said.

The replacement trout will be provided the next time the lake is stocked, which will be in October, he said.

Though rainbow trout are cold-water fish, McLaughlin said the fishery told the parks and recreation department that “its crew noticed that the fish were stressed as they were released from the truck and noticed during the stocking that a number had expired before being released.”

“The fishery noted that this occasionally happens, though they don’t know the exact reason,” McLaughlin said.

The trout were brought here as part of a program through which Lake Shawnee since 1979 has been stocked with that type of fish, which isn’t typically found in Kansas, during the fall and again in the late winter or early spring

Shawnee County commissioners voted in October 2019 to enter into a contract arranging for the county to pay Crystal Lake Fisheries $57,400 annually for three years to stock the lake with rainbow trout in the spring and fall.

Two trucks were used to stock the lake in late February, McLaughlin said. The trout that died were all part of the first release, which took place the morning of Feb. 23 amid single-digit temperatures at the lake’s south boat ramp, he said.

A second truck on Feb. 25 delivered 7,000 pounds, all of which were “released successfully,” McLaughlin said.

Tim Laurent, director of Shawnee County Parks and Recreation, said the department’s staff members recall only two instances since 1979 in which “a number of fish were lost” as the lake was being stocked.

Both those situations involved extreme weather, he said. Trout are stocked in lakes and ponds all around the Midwest and up into the northern states,” Laurent said.

“The public enjoys watching the trout stocking and fishermen tell us that they enjoy the unique fishing experience,” he said.

As reported in the Topeka Capital Journal


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