KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Biologists with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) are looking into why 300 catfish were found dead down at Chickamauga Lake.
The TWRA reports the dead channel catfish were all discovered along 32 miles of shoreline near Chickamauga Dam. The largest concentration of fish was found closest to the dam and all the fish averaged in size just over a pound.
Experts said all the fish died around the same time and did not have obvious signs of disease or trauma. As of Monday, the TWRA has ruled out chemicals, a virus or bacteria as a possible cause. The agency shared that if these were one of the causes, there would be multiple ages and species of fish affected.
“This sounds like a large number, but in the biological world, it isn’t. There are several clues that allow us to know this incident is not due to chemicals, bacteria, or a virus,” stated Bobby Brown, Aquatic Habitat Protection Biologist.
“Catfish are typically a hardy fish,” said Region III Fisheries Program Manager, Travis Scott. “There are many other fish more sensitive to water quality issues. Luckily, we are not seeing further signs of sick or dying fish.”
Meanwhile, the wildlife agency said it will continue to monitor Chickamauga Lake.