Thousands of dead fish found floating on Lake Champlain near Whitehall

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Thousands of dead fish are floating on Lake Champlain up in Washington County.

NEWS10 ABC tried to get some answers as to what may have happened.

It’s a site to see on Lake Champlain, thousands of dead fish floating in the water, but it remains a mystery as to how and why they died.

A spokesperson for the DEC tells NEWS10 ABC they haven’t heard about a mass killing of fish yet but say they’re going to look into it.

They’re located on the portion of Lake Champlain known as South Bay off of Route 22 in Whitehall.

There’s thousands of them floating in the water and up on the banks.

“When the sun comes up, it starts smelling a little bad,” said Bill Jones, who lives in Whitehall.

That smell can only mean one thing to Bill Jones, dead fish.

“I take my shovel and I dig a hole and I bury them,” Jones said.

He buries each one that floats to his backyard, on the part of Lake Champlain known as South Bay.

“Head of the bay up there, south of the bridge and they start floating down this way because the wind blows them down,” Jones said.

It’s something he says happens every year. So far he’s only seen a few by his home, but across the lake is a different story.

On that side, thousands of dead fish are floating in the water, or laying on the banks by Barry Lane’s home.

“Yeah, there’s a lot right there,” Lane said.

Though he hasn’t seen this many outside his house in a while, it seems a mass of them always appear somewhere in the area. It just happens where the wind blows.

“Last year there’s probably 35 or 40 dozen on the south side of the bridge,” Jones said.

But the question remains, why is this happening?

“What reason they die, could be a lack of oxygen. It could be anything really,” Lane said.

While the DEC doesn’t know what exactly could have caused this, the spokesperson said weather could have played a factor. 

They said this is the time of year they find dead fish in bodies of water when the ice melts and this year with the brief warm periods we had in January and February could have caused this to happen.

However, the DEC is unsure why this is happening in Whitehall.

So, for now these residents will have to go on with their theories and let it be.

“There’s nothing you can do about it. They’re there. All you can do is let them disappear,” Jones said.

The DEC is continuing to investigate this situation.

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