Fishermen in a small community in southern Oklahoma are looking for answers after finding thousands of dead fish on the Red River.
"I've never seen anything like it... they just... for some unknown reason they're just dying," Bob Stewart. Several residents in the Love County community of Courtney... near the Red River... say thousands of fish have turned up dead over the past few days. Lyndal Vanbuskirk and friends have been fishing the river for over 40 years now. But this weekend they saw and smelled the stench from hundreds of fish carcasses out on dry land. "Something's had to cause em to beach theirselves, it's just not normal," said Lyndal Vanbuskirk. Many of the locals tell us they suspect some sort of chemical spill... And they say they're concerned about people who are still eating fish from the river. But biologist Matt Mauck with the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation says it's likely due to the weather. "To ease people's minds around here we have taken water samples from various places in the river we have sent those off to the department of environmental quality and the samples are pending at this time," said Matt Mauck. Mauck says they've recently received calls about dead fish from all over the state. He says the drought could be to blame because lack of rain and extreme heat have made for low river levels and very hot water. "those conditions are difficult on fish especially larger ones and when you compound low dissolved oxygen levels with these it can be fatal for fish," said Mauck. But Vanbuskirk and other local fisherman say they just don't believe that. "I'm not a biologist and I don't know but I would say that that's not the first thought that comes to mind for the simple fact I've seen it hotter and I've seen less water in it." Mauck says it will be a few more days before the test results come back. - KXXI.