Fish population dwindles in drought

POSTED: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 4:31pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

WACO -- What started out as a promising spring has turned into a deadly summer.

John Tibbs, a biologist, said fish are now struggling with high temperatures and low water levels.

"In many of our area lakes, we've, we've seen an issue with reduced, numbers of fish being, spawned in the lake," said Tibbs.

And the areas fish normally swim and reproduce is drying up thanks to the drought.

"It makes the fish vulnerable. They get eaten and so we see a, a reduction in the number of fish in a population during drought years," said Tibbs.

Truett Teague, a local fisherman, has taken notice.

"I think the biggest difference is just the water levels change, So the spot that you would have fished, you just move it out a little further," said Teague.

Central Texas lake levels are lowering about 1% per week, which is destroying the vegetation and forcing the fish to move to deeper parts of the lake, making it harder for fishermen.

"The heat and drought kinda, makes it hit and miss. Some days you'll go out and they'll be stacked up on one spot. The pattern's always changing, so it makes it a little tougher to follow," said Teague.

And catching the fish isn't the only problem boaters face.

"Fishermen and even recreational boaters, of course, are finding it difficult to get around the lake. A lot of times, you know, they've gone through a particular area a hundred times before, and all the sudden there's a tree because the water is so much lower," said Tibbs.

But there's some good news for dedicated fishermen.

Biologists say one poor year doesn't pose any long-term problems.

And local fish hatcheries are well stocked just in case the fish population continues to dwindle.

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