STORM LAKE, Iowa (KCAU) — A virus has killed thousands of fish in Storm Lake.
The Koi Herpes Virus has been confirmed as the cause of death for thousands of common carp in Storm Lake.
Jim Feenstra and his wife Gloria come to Storm Lake for two weeks every summer. He said they love fishing on the lake, but that’s not easy to do when it’s littered with dead carp.
“The fish kill has really made things stink,” said Feenstra. “It’s really hard to fish when you got to keep your nose closed.”
The dead carp are not found everywhere on Storm Lake. Kim Woltman is the program manager at Sunrise Campground. She said the campground has been 95% full on the weekends and she’s hopeful the dead carp won’t change that.
“We haven’t seen any impact on it. A lot of our guests will still come,” said Woltman. “They’ll take their boats out and go fishing and enjoy themselves. We do have a lot of guests that go up to Kings Pointe to the resort, the outdoor water park and spend the day there. We get a lot of families on the weekends, so I really don’t think it’s impacted us at all at this point and I don’t see it impacting us in the future.”
Ben Wallace is a fisheries biologist with the Iowa DNR. Common carp are not native to Siouxland and Wallace said the DNR has no interest in protecting those fish.
“We’re not overly concerned about this fish die off,” said Wallace. “We don’t want common carp in this lake. The fact that it’s specific to this species, it’s not a bad thing.”
While the virus is not dangerous to humans, Wallace still thinks it will have a negative impact on some Siouxlanders as they try to get out on the water this summer.
“From a recreational standpoint, I think a lot of it’s going to depend on where you are on the lake,” said Wallace. “If you notice, this blue green algae is kind of washing in along shore where the wind is blowing in. Consequentially that’s also where a lot of the dead fish are kind of piling up. If you get out to the middle of the lake, I think you’re going to see some very different conditions.”
Wallace said the virus only impacts the common carp in Storm Lake and any other species of fish should be safe to eat.