9-14-13 Stickle-back fish kill - Lake Illiamna, Alaska, USA
Observation: Grants Lagoon, shore of Lake Iliamna, near Igiugig Alaska, September 14, 2013 (fish) Several hundred thousand (didn't actually count them) dead nine-spine stickle backs along with many more live ones in a small dead-end tributary from the lagoon to Iliamna Lake. A dozen or more dead sucker fish as well as some live ones in the same stretch. The lagoons are an important subsistence resource to our community as we often fish pike in the lagoons. We assume that the stickle backs and sucker fish are important food sources for the resident pike. Christina Salmon
Center for Science Public Participation (CSP2) Consult: Carol Ann Woody, Fisheries Scientist, writes, "An excerpt from Carol correspondence follows: Approximately 99% of the fish affected by the die off were ninespine sticklebacks. Thousands of sticklebacks had left the large lagoon, migrated downstream toward Lake Iliamna to arrive at a dead end. Ninespines enter sloughs and ponds in spring and summer to breed. They generally outmigrate in fall to deeper habitats for overwintering.They were out-migrating to Lake Iliamna but wave action created a high gravel berm cutting of the stream connection to the lake."
"Most were about 1 inch (~30 mm) to 2.5 in (65mm) in length. Dissolved oxygen where the fish congregated at the dead end was 2.2 contributing to mortality.pH was 6.82, conductivity was 47.7. No reason to send others there. I saw NO salmon in the kill I repeat no salmon. A resident of Igiugig did observe some dead suckers earlier in the week (7) and Lydia Olympic indicated she observed some candlefish. I have to verify species with her. Because the lagoon is so large and subject to good wind action I do not suspect low dissolved oxygen in the lagoon being a problem, I also did not observe other dead fish, except one stickleback, I would expect to see other fish along the shore if the lagoon had low oxygen. Oxygen levels in the lagoon were 10.84, saturated." Thank you Dr. Woody.