Fish kill reported at Lake Contrary in St. Joseph

News from the region
Published Date

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is investigating a fish kill at Lake Contrary in St. Joseph. Heat and drought have caused low dissolved oxygen levels, which caused the fish kill. An estimated 20,000 fish have died, mostly invasive Asian carp, said Scott Ryan, the MDC northwest regional fisheries supervisor.

Lake Contrary is a shallow oxbow lake formed decades ago when the Missouri River changed channels. MDC maintains Gasper Landing fishing access at the lake. Ryan said fish have been “piping” or gulping for air at the surface for several weeks. The 215-acre lake on St. Joseph’s south side has not been subject to Missouri River flooding since the 1950s. Flood events can scour old channels back to deeper depths. But siltation is continually making Lake Contrary shallower. That makes it more prone to fish kills than a lake with deep or flowing water.

More information on the lake is available at