Hundreds of fish stranded after heavy rainfall in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY - After the state received several inches of rain, hundreds of fish were stranded on the rocks by the Eastern dam on the Oklahoma River.

"Some of them are making their spawning runs, so they are going upstream or going downstream to hit their spawning grounds,” said Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Fish Biologist Keith Thomas. “Unfortunately, when they turn the water off at the dam, they get stuck, it happens all over the state."

The dams are on an automatic control, which allows the city to adjust the flow of water based on the amount of rainfall. This past weekend, the city had the dam partly open.

"So, Friday night, when we had a lot of water, it opened up to about 50 percent,” Oklahoma City Public Works Public Information Officer Shannon Cox told News 4. “When we have less water, we're trying to maintain the water level at the Olympic rowing facility, it will close back down. It was at 15 percent."

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife said the fact there was still water coming over the dam saved most of the fish. They were able to stay in the small pools until the water level came back up.

“Those bigger fish, maybe a few hours then they start dying,” Thomas said. “Also, the temperature, if the water starts warming up, if the sun came out, that hurts them too. The smaller fish, they can go a little bit longer.”

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife does appreciate tips if you see something out of place. If you do see dead, dying or stranded fish, you can call the Oklahoma Kill Response Management hotline at 1-800-522-0206.

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