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Estimating Prophet
02-17-2011, 11:14 AM
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Last week’s cold weather left a 28-foot sailboat sunk and dozens of dead fish at the Lake Hefner Marina.

The dead fish, many of which are floating under the remains of an ice sheet that covers the lake’s surface in the marina, appear to be threadfin shad.



Chas Peterson, a fisheries biologist with the state Wildlife Conservation Department, said a frozen lake can be a death sentence for shad.

“Threadfin shad are the main species here susceptible to cold,” Peterson said. “That is a concern with several lakes in Oklahoma. Our other species pretty well take care of themselves. They are able to find thermal refuge somewhere.”

Threadfin shad do not tolerate water temperatures below 42 degrees, leading to large die-offs in winter.

Although the city does not stock Lake Hefner with shad, they are a common bait fish for other species stocked in the lake, including largemouth bass and catfish.

The shad can enter the lake when fishermen dump their minnows at the end of a trip or when the city takes water from the North Canadian River, parks spokeswoman Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock said.

Lindsey-McClintock said city officials have no reason to believe the lake was contaminated.

“I’d say it is more likely that this was the occurrence of a natural event than anything that was environmental in nature,” she said. “Right now people don’t need to be concerned about anything.”

Lindsey-McClintock said if city officials discover anything unusual about the dead fish, they will call in the Wildlife Department to investigate the matter.

The ice also claimed a much larger victim. A 28-foot sailboat belonging to Jonathan Steed, of Oklahoma City, was nearly submerged in its slip at the marina Monday.

Steed, who is out of town and could not be reached for comment, hired Jim Alspaugh, of Sailor’s Valet, to raise and fix the boat.

Alspaugh said last week’s cold could have caused the boat to sink in any number of ways.

“I don’t know exactly what happened,” Alspaugh said.

“I won’t know until I get the boat up. With the cold weather, it could be something as simple as a frozen intake hose to the motor that split, so it filled up with water.”

Raising the boat will be an undertaking in part because of the remaining ice in the marina, Alspaugh said.

“You can’t get in another boat and go back and throw a strap around the back because of the ice,” he said.

“It’s going to be kind of a long deal. Hopefully, we can get the leak slowed down enough that we can pump the water out and slowly but surely bring it up.”

Once the boat is raised, Alspaugh will need to fix whatever caused the leak and repair any damage the boat suffered when it went under. The boat’s engine likely is damaged, he said.

“All the electrical is going to have to be taken out,” Alspaugh said.

“Sailboats actually do pretty well. You can suck a lot of that water out and get stuff cleaned up pretty good.”



Read more: http://newsok.com/cold-weather-bad-for-shad-sailboat-at-lake-hefner/article/3541000#ixzz1EF1EyC8Z