Unusually warm weather this past weekend brought out a good number of people to Avon Lake's beaches on Sunday, who in turn saw a good number of dead fish on those beaches.
Mayor Greg Zilka said he was contacted by both a resident and a Channel 19 reporter about the dead fish at Miller Road Park’s beach said beachgoers should be assured that dead fish on the beach were normal.
“It’s my understanding that this is a natural phenomenon,” Zilka said. “During strong winter winds, waves deposit fish on the beach and in time they are either washed ashore or back into the lake. This happens every spring.”
The annual beaching of dead fish is not a new phenomenon nor is it specific to Avon Lake. A similar turnout of dead fish are typical of beaches in Edgewater Park in Cleveland and Huntington Beach in Bay Village.
In March 2011, Iowa Environmental Focus explained how dead fish in Iowa is linked to Mother Nature, not people.
“These (instances) occur naturally according to the DNR, as the ice and snow of winter blocks sunlight from reaching aquatic plants, which in turn, stop producing oxygen,” the group said. “The longer the snow and ice cover lasts, the less oxygen is in the water.”
Michigan's Department of Natural Resources had this explanation for the "winter kill":
"Shallow lakes with excess amounts of aquatic vegetation and mucky bottoms are prone to this problem," Michigan's DNR website said. "Fish actually die in late winter, but may not be noticed until a month after the ice leaves the lake because the dead fish are temporarily preserved by the cold water. Winterkill begins with distressed fish gasping for air at holes in the ice and ends with large numbers of dead fish which bloat as the water warms in early spring."
A source in the Fisheries department at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confirmed ODNR receives calls every spring.
“It’s a natural occurrence,” the source said, saying temperature changes play a part. “It natural every spring from the thaw.”