Large volumes of water being released from Missouri River reservoirs have resulted in lake herring and rainbow smelt being flushed through Oahe and Big Bend Dams.
While some fish pass through unharmed, many die due to drastic pressure changes or physical trauma from the hydroelectric turbines. Many of the dead fish are being found along the shores of Lake Sharpe and the upstream reaches of Lake Francis Case.
Lake herring and rainbow smelt make up the vast majority of dead fish found below the dams; however, some walleye, catfish and carp have been reported as well.
While some walleye have been found among the dead fish, 99 percent of them are lake herring, said GFP wildlife biologist Robert Hanten.
Lake herring and rainbow smelt are cold-water fish that inhabit the deeper, colder waters of Lake Oahe. High water releases, combined with the deep locations of the outlet structures, have made those species vulnerable to being flushed through the dams.
Biologists will continue to monitor fish on Lake Sharpe and Lake Francis Case this summer and fall during scheduled surveys. As flows through the dams diminish and waters cool in the fall, the number of fish passing through the dams should also decline.
Gary locker added to list
Rob's Locker and Catering of Gary was omitted from a list of area lockers that participate in the Sportsmen Against Hunger program.
State parks special events
South Dakota state parks will be holding special events on Saturday.
Make plans to attend the following events:
· Kayaking for Fun, 9:30 a.m. CDT, Randall Creek Recreation Area near Pickstown. Learn how to safely and effectively paddle a kayak.
· Nature Day Camp: Follow That Footprint, Paw Print, Hoof Print, 9:30 a.m.-noon MDT, Rocky Point Recreation Area near Belle Fourche. Come learn about the many animals of the area, how to identify common animal tracks, and make an animal track to take home.
· Journey Through Time, 10 a.m. CDT, Lake Poinsett Recreation Area near Arlington. Meet at the museum for pioneer crafts and to learn about the history of the area.
· History Hike, 11 a.m. CDT, Newton Hills State Park near Canton. For those who are curious about the story of Newton Hills State Park, both legend and fact, join us at the entrance to the Woodland Trail on the lower road for a History Hike.
· Monarch Butterfly Tagging, 2 p.m. CDT, Palisades State Park near Garretson. Learn the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly and take part in tagging and releasing butterflies on their way to winter in Mexico.
With lower water levels on the Missouri River, the Department of Game, Fish and Parks announced that the south campground at the Springfield Recreation Area is now available for reservations.
We were able to open 10 more campsites to the public, said Shane Bertsch, District Park supervisor.
The boat ramp in the bay can be used to access the river, but boaters are urged to use caution because submerged debris can be hazardous. Park users should avoid swimming in the area due to high water and swift currents.