Streams and fish stressed by continued heat and drought

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Trout stocking is suspended on five Iowa streams and another fish kill struck the Des Moines River as heat continues to take a toll on Iowa waterways.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources blames a fish kill in the Des Moines River on low water flows and high water temperature.   The situation is especially dangerous for fish sensitive to warmer water like sturgeon, northern pike, yellow perch and walleye. 

Even channel catfish and bullheads, which are more tolerant to warmer water, are showing signs of stress.

High water has also prompted the Iowa DNR to suspend regular trout stocking at Upper Swiss Valley in Dubuque county, Twin Bridges in Delaware County, Turtle and Spring creeks in Mitchell County and Bohemian Creek in Winneshiek County.   Water temperatures in those locations currently range between 70 degrees and the low 80s.  

Trout going from hatcheries, where water temperature is 50 to 56 degrees, die when they are stocked in water where temperatures are 15 to 30 degrees higher.   

“We need to have either the weather cool off or get some precipitation to increase stream flows which should help stream temperatures to decrease,” said Brian Malaise, hatchery manager at the Decorah trout hatchery.

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