Fish Kill near Foords Landing in Prime Hook Creek


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Fish Kill in Prime Hook Creek .. photo by Tom Deptula
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Gizzard shad and possibly trout or cob mullet along the creeks edge … photo from Tom Deptula

A fish kill has occurred in the past couple of days near Foords Landing in Prime Hook.  The landing is near the end of Turkle Road on Prime Hook creek.  Hundreds of dead fish were spotted today floating upstream of the landing by Tom Deptula while he was kayak fishing.  “The fish kill is in the marsh area leading up to that forested portion of the creek.  Lots of what look like gizzard shad and maybe trout(?).  Must have happened last night, or it looked as though it was recent. Super stinky with turkey vultures and flies everywhere. Once you get beyond all of that into a wooded area it stopped”   This evening I spoke with a friend at DNREC to ask whom we should report the incident to, and they told me to contact the Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge staff to let them know, if they already do not.  It is most likely from lack of dissolved oxygen (DO) since that usually kills the gizzard shad first.  At this time there is no official cause of the fish kill.

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Dead gizzard shad along the creek’s edge … photo from Tom Deptula

It would not surprise me to find out the heavy rains had something to do with this.  I will inform Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge staff of the incident in the morning, since this was discovered after they were closed today.  We just wanted to give everyone a heads up in case they are in the area, kayaking, fishing, or bird watching.  Once we know more we will keep you informed.  Prime Hook Creek is a non-tidal creek that flows from Waples Pond.  I would expect the dead fish to float closer and into Shell Beach pond (an open marsh impoundment area).  Prime Hook creek eventually flows into the Broadkill River, but the impoundment pond is controlled by flood gates to control water levels for migrating water fowl and shorebirds.  It is possible at some point some of these dead fish could float into the Broadkill River.  On a good note Tom said he was doing well catching perch and a monster carp once he was above the fish kill area.

Fish On!!

Rich King

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