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Thousands of fish rotting after West Medical Lake fish kill

MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - The smell is the first thing that hits you as you pass West Medical Lake. Thousands of fish and other aquatic organisms are rotting on the shores after the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife conducted their planned fish kill.

The department used a chemical called rotenone, which interrupted any gill-breathing organisms ability to process oxygen.

The result, a fish-free lake, which the department plans to re-stock next year.

The fish kill was necessary according to the department because illegally introduced gold-fish were out-competing the lake's trout, and in a few years the trout may have been completely wiped out.

The fish are being left to rot in the lake, according to fish biologists on the project so that they can help re-introduce nutrients back into the lake.

Signs posted along the lake ask that you not eat or use any of the fish as feed, and that you not use the lake water to irrigate any crops or late vegetables.

Fish biologists will be monitoring the lake closely and anticipate introducing up to 25 thousand catchable rainbow trout back into it in early spring and then upwards of 150 thousand trout fry later in the season to kick-start the following years fishing seasons.

The lake is regularly closed this time of year, and will be re-opened on schedule next April.


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