Salt Fork of the Arkansas River is dying

Discussion in 'LOCAL OKLAHOMA TALK' started by AwShucks, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    Just got a call from Catman George, asking me to post the following message for our Oklahoma brothers. For those of you who don't know George, he is very involved with the State Department of Wildlife personnel, and I would take this information as being very truthful and knowledgeable.

    Due to the stretch of hot weather we have been having, the stretch of the Salt Fork River, from the dam of the Great Salt Plains Reservoir to where it empties into the Arkansas River, ALL fish in the river are expected to die within the next week. Currently flat heads of 40 to 50 pounds are on the surface gulping air. This event happened a few decades ago with loss of the fish. Currently they are good to eat, and are easy to catch, so you should be able to stock your freezers. With this condition, local wardens MAY NOT strictly enforce state regulations, but this cannot be state a a positive fact. The fish which are not harvested by anglers will simply die and rot in the water.

    George is not at a computer where he can explain exactly what is happening, but I'm sure that when he gets to one, he will add to the thread. Supposedly the holes below the reservoirs dam are full of fish now. Wardens will be trying to save the lake, and let the river fend for itself. Some fish will be netted and released into the lake.

    An additional note George provided concerns Kaw Lake. Apparently the fish below 15' (thermocline) are dying. Blues are in 10 to 15 foot of water where there is oxygen. Bass and crappies should be at 3 to 5' of water.

    Maybe you guys who would want to take advantage of this can call your local wardens and see what they have to say.
     
  2. Quackshutr

    Quackshutr New Member

    Messages:
    133
    State:
    Oklahoma, Collinsville
    Oh man, that sucks! Hope this cool front will help out some.

    Q
     

  3. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    Man, thats sad to hear. I grew up fishing Kaw and have been to the Great Salt Plains dam a couple of times. I have never seen so many mice in my life.:smile2: I have great memories there and I hope that it doesnt get that bad. Are you referring to the flatheads at Kaw? Its an excellent fishery, I would hate to something devastating happen to it.
     
  4. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    My reference was to the fish in the Salt Fork. What the biologist reported was the large flat heads were at the surface gulping air as they couldn't get oxygen from the water. They will soon be dead. The last time this happened there were carcasses of 60+ pound flat heads floating in the water.

    Kaw lake is predominately a lake for blues. I know there are also large flat heads, but I believe most everyone will agree the Kaw is a lake for blues. Kaw is a popular lake for jug lines and trot lines, and of the sampling taken by the ODWC, hooks in the water column deeper than 15' contained all dead fish. So, if your going to Kaw Lake, fish shallow.
     
  5. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    I was pretty much raised below the dam at Kaw and up on Coon Creek. We spread my Dads ashes below the dam when he passed away. I havent been able to get down there much this year because of gas prices. Hopefully I will be able to go within the next couple of weeks and give it a shot. I bought my OK license and have hardly even used it. Thanks for the heads up Lawrence.
     
  6. catman george

    catman george New Member

    Messages:
    440
    State:
    Oklahoma
    My report on Kaw is that blues caught on jugs below 15' are dead which means the fish probably are being forced shallower due to oxygen deprevation. NO oxygen!
    Salt Fork of the Arkansas is virtually out of water and no water will be released from the lake to save the 200,000+ channel cats that have been stocked and are averaging 1.5 - 2 pounds. They are doing ok right now. The fish located in the basin below is another matter. If the area catches any rain even 1/2" it will not matter. The Dept staff are trying their darndest to salvage all the flatties they can and are transporting them into the lake to save them. An approx 80 pounder was transferred today along with another 17 smaller ones. Your department personnel are trying to save all they can. But they will sacrifice the river to save the lake. If the lake dies again, it is expected that the lake may not be restocked again. Your legal limit is 3 flatties/day. I am not suggesting anyone do anything inappropriate or illegal but this event is going to happen in the next 3 days. You can use your own judgement.

    catman george
     
  7. catman george

    catman george New Member

    Messages:
    440
    State:
    Oklahoma
    Correction! the 200,000 + channels were stocked in the lake and are OK for now. There is evidence that some channels may have spawned probably in the river. These would have been wild fish. No water is proposed to be released from the lake to save downstream. I hope this is a little more clear.

    catman george
     
  8. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

    Messages:
    1,497
    State:
    OK
    Seems like every July and Aug we will hit a long dry spell with super high temps. What has made this year any different from ones in the past? I'd think the Salt Fork would have this problem every year about this time, just wondering. Thanks.
     
  9. catman george

    catman george New Member

    Messages:
    440
    State:
    Oklahoma
    Chris - You are right,typical August. No wind,cloud cover and no photosynthesis to produce oxygen in shallow water. The zooplankton and phytoplankton consume the oxygen along with the algae. The algae and other organisms use the oxygen during the night and produces CO2.The oxygen around 5:00 to 7:00 AM is at its lowest point causing the fish to stress. If the algae does not produce much O2 because the sun does not shine then water conditions are such we see fish stressing or dying. We have the conditions now. I hope I am enlightening people as to what is happening here and at other lakes and ponds around the State.

    catman
     
  10. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

    Messages:
    1,497
    State:
    OK
    How much public access is there on the Salt Fork? I drive over it when going from Ponca to Stillwater and looks actually big enough for a small jon in at least that section of river.
     
  11. Bill D Curtis

    Bill D Curtis New Member

    Messages:
    252
    State:
    Blackwell Oklahoma
    Everything below the chiakaski will be ok we had a 3 ft rise here last night
     
  12. catman george

    catman george New Member

    Messages:
    440
    State:
    Oklahoma
    There are 100's of carp and buffalo piping and dying. Saturday things will be worse and by Sunday I expect the stilling basin to be a smelly rottening pile of carcasses. ODWC transferred many flatties today to the lake. I was there at daylight and could not believe my eyes as to what i saw. Thanks Bill for your report about the Chikaski area.

    catman george
     
  13. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    Got a report that the ODWC game wardens did issue citations for over-the-limit on fish. Don't know if they cited anyone for catching the fish in nets, but I would imagine if they write tickets for one offense, they'd write them for all offenses. With the fish at the surface, and not in good condition, you can probably noodle them and be legal.
     
  14. Bill D Curtis

    Bill D Curtis New Member

    Messages:
    252
    State:
    Blackwell Oklahoma
    seen a river report for Alva shows it to be on the rise hope its not too little to late we went from tonkawa west past lamont water was flowing good and no fish kill
     
  15. catman george

    catman george New Member

    Messages:
    440
    State:
    Oklahoma
    Sadly the fish kill in the stilling basin below Salt Plains is almost complete. The lake is full and doing fine so lets hope we get enough rain in that area to get the river flowing again to restock.

    catman george