FREDERICKTOWN -- Patrons of Knox Lake can expect to see (and smell) more dead fish in the coming months.
But unlike the "Spring Viremia of Carp,” or “SVC” virus that's taking a toll on the lake's carp, in this instance the cause will be upgrading the lake's dam.
Marty Lundquist, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist noted that as water is being lowered across the lake (while the dam is under construction) more fish will naturally die. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will try to save as many fish as it can, Lundquist said, but “the east end of the lake is going to be dry.”
“We know that we’re gonna lose some fish there. They’re gonna die,” he said. “We don’t know how many we’re going to be able to rescue, if any, because we don’t know what the situation is and the conditions.”
Lundquist encouraged residents to stay patient throughout the construction process, which began this week and will conclude next spring. ODNR will be rehabilitating Knox Lake’s 60-year-old dam in order to bring it up to current safety standards.
Construction crews will be stabilizing and resurfacing the spillway, replacing the riprap on the upstream side of the dam, making structural improvements to the lake's drain control, and installing an additional embankment toe drain.
During construction, the pool elevation in Knox Lake is being lowered approximately six feet to allow crews to complete the work, said Austin Levering, Knox County's wildlife officer.
The lake will remain this way for the duration of the construction process.
Boat ramps will be unusable for trailered watercraft during the low-water period. However, access will still be available for small watercraft such as kayaks and canoes at the 476-acre lake.
Shoreline fishing will be available in existing public access areas. Dam Road, the road leading to the spillway, will not be accessible to the public during construction.