Lots of Dead Minnows, Stamp Act Walk reservations, Marsh Paddle Images

There are still a few spots open for our Annual Stamp Act Island Walk scheduled for August 17th starting at 9:30.

A lot of dead or dying small white fish have been seen over the last few days in the lake and along the shore. These have been confirmed as small yellow perch, hatched this year. It is probably not a major issue related to lake water quality but it is a real bonus for the seagulls…

The inch long floating fish on the lake are yellow perch that hatched this year. The cause of the die-off could be a combination of temperature and/or food availability.  The lake has been hovering around or above 80* F for the past two weeks often exceeding that at the surface.

Less likely, but possibly the cause, is a disease that is not apparent from the outside of the fish. A more likely cause (but with no proof) is that there was large smelt population this winter (as reported from regular ice anglers who said the trout they were catching were full of smelt unlike other years).  Smelt spawn before perch and the young can out-compete young perch for zooplankton.

This time of year the young yellow perch should switch to eating benthic invertebrates.  If the perch aren’t big enough because they did not have sufficient zooplankton to eat, they can’t handle the invertebrates and this may be indicated in this case (the dead perch are pretty small).  Moving inshore searching for food also exposes them to warmer temperatures which raises their metabolism so they would need more food. It would not be surprising to see high mortality under these conditions.

Benthic macroinvertebrates (also known as “benthos”) are small animals living among stones, logs, sediments and aquatic plants on the bottom of streams, rivers and lakes. They are large enough to see with the naked eye (macro) and have no backbone (invertebrate). Zooplankton, or animal plankton, may spend their entire lives as plankton at the mercy of the currents (holoplankton); or as meroplankton, existing as plankton for a short time during their development.)

The weather was beautiful on August 5th for our Marsh Paddle into Whitton Marsh. The marsh is located on the northeast shore of lake on the other side of RT. 109.

Naturalist, Emilie Clark, shared her antidotes from decades of observing this the marsh. Additionally she shared her deepening knowledge about the plants and animals that visit the marsh or use it as their home. This marsh and others in our lakes filter water before they enter the lakes from tributaries, provide habitat for aquatic vertebrates by providing food and shelter.

Members enjoyed an informative morning as Emilie’s shared her knowledge of flora and fauna as well as some of her experiences in this special place. Emilie is art reflects her inspiration from nature. Click here to learn more about Emilie’s observation platform, her publications, and to see her art.


It wasn’t all kayaks as a paddle boarder went along. The higher vantage point gave a different view of the marsh so it may have been an advantage.

As you can see not just people enjoyed the marsh. It might be that in baby duck season a dog wouldn’t be ideal but at this time of year it wasn’t a problem.

The blue plants here are pickerel weed and the plant below is cattail.

Photos by Julie Brown

Leave a Reply