© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

You Know It’s Bad When…

A few times each year Laura and I fish for bass and bluegills in my friend Jerry’s pond. But last fall his pond sprung a leak and lost about 20% of it’s water. Our hot dry summer didn’t help, and by mid-August the pond was down its bank by more than ten feet. The low, warm water doesn’t hold much oxygen and the fish can start to suffer. Smaller fish don’t need as much oxygen and they usually pull through with minimal casualties. But the bigger fish don’t fare so well. The biggest fish in most farm ponds are grass carp. These carp are stocked as footlong youngsters and they spend their lives growing to mammoth sizes by eating the algae and weeds that grow in the water.

Jerry was recently telling me that he lost most of his grass carp. He didn’t realize it until it was too late as the stench was his first clue that he had a problem. When he followed his nose to the water’s edge he saw several dozen dead and decaying carp ranging from 25 to 40 pounds.

He then told me about how he rented a trailer, loaded up the dead fish and brought them to the local garbage dump. When he arrived to make drop off his load, the manager on duty walked up, winced, shook his head and complained, “This is really going to stink up my dump!”



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