Smelly situation for Rock Island’s Sunset Park

It's a smelly situation near area waterways these days. That's where the pungent aroma of dead fish is filling the air.

Step by step in Sunset Park, it's time for walking.

"It's a nasty smell," said Denny Eckert, Rock Island.

It's a good chance to pedal along the bike path.

"It smells like a lot of fish," said Michael Kelly, Rock Island.

Okay, there's no escaping this season of smells.

"During the mid-day, you're going to smell it," Kelly continued. "But what can you do?"

"Dead fish, all along the shoreline," said Mary Scott, Rock Island.

After a late ice melt, dozens of dead fish are drifting to the surface. It's a seasonal fish kill that happens every year.

"You don't have a natural flow of water going through these areas," said Illinois Conservation Police Officer Tony Petreikis.

Officer Petreikis explained that lack of oxygen in the water to walker Eckert.

"It's just rotting fish," Eckert said. "A lot of them -- hundreds."

"You have shallower water where the ice gets thick, and then the quality of water in the shallow areas gets bad," Petreikis said.

And while it's a natural process, there's still no escaping the smell. A smell that's quite overpowering on a bad day.

"Real fishy," said Janet Wingert, Rock Island.

"You'd like to smell some other things, too, like flowers," added Deborah Triplett, East Moline.

Mostly Gizzard Shad, these fish foragers just can't handle water below 40 degrees. The backwaters fill up, and the walkers try not to throw up. Birds and other animals enjoy the feast.

Fish experts say not to worry. The really bad smell should be dissipating soon.

"Get out and do some walking," Eckert advised. "Get down here. It's a great place to get some exercise."

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