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This was between Snowden Pool and Balcony Falls, this is just below where the Maury River joins the James - Glasgow, VA.
Approximately 20 fish found dead along shoreline eddies in approximately 2 miles of River. Sad news indeed.
I'll be out on the South Fork looking Saturday, nothing reported so far though.
Let us know what you find (or hopefully, won't find).
A kill of 20 fish I can almost live with....kinda...maybe....but I bet it is much bigger than that. Any idea if they were young or mature fish?
approximately 12 to 15 inches - mature, just has been the case with most all the fish on both the James and Shenandoah. Fishing the Southfork in the summertime, you'll notice that you catch a large number of fish up to about 11 or 12 inches, and very few above that.
here's the full text from the email
Yesterday DEQ received a report from an angler who on 3/16/08 observed approximately 20 dead smallmouth bass, from 12-15" in the James River between Balcony Falls and Snowden. The gentleman who reported the kill observed the fish along the right bank (facing downstream) in 3-6' of water. He estimated visibility at 6', based on his ability to see the end of a 6' pole. Because he was unsure if there was a risk in handling the dead fish, he didn't bring them aboard, but was certain they were smallmouth bass.
He also reported that he'd been fishing that section for several weeks, and that until this time he'd seen no dead fish, and that in fact fishing had been quite good. He said that fish were healthy, had good body mass, and that gill condition was good.
Because he had launched from Snowden, he was unable to get any further upstream than the falls, so he doesn't know if dead fish extend further upstream.
Because the confluence of the Maury is nearby, it would be useful to know whether the kill extends up into the lower Maury, or into the James upstream of the mouth of the Maury. It would also be good to know how far up either river it extends.
If anyone is able to get out to that area, please let the rest of the listserve group know so we don't duplicate effort. The area received what looks to be an average of 3/4" of rain last night, and gages are beginning to rise in both the Maury and the James, so it may be difficult to make any observations before next week, but if you happen to be in the area and visibility is sufficient, please try to take a look.
Keep in mind that the gentleman who observed the fish only saw about 20 fish in 2 miles of river, so these won't likely be big clusters of fatalities; it will probably require steady patient searching to detect the bodies.
Valley Regional Office
VA Dept. of Environmental Quality
Harrisonburg VA 22801
ph. (540) 574-7858
fax (540) 574-7878