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Hundreds of dead fish belly-up in Fountain Lake in Byrd Park

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SCENIC: byrd park lake fountain and geese

fishmysteryRICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Biologists are investigating what cause tens of dozens of fish to die in Fountain Lake, situated in Byrd Park.

The Richmond Department of Environmental Quality said they got a complaint about the dead fish on Wednesday, and biologists found around 200 dead bluegill fish floating in the lake.

Samples were taken from the water and sent off for testing.

A spokesman for the department says there is no obvious cause for the kill. However it’s possible that the recent warm weather and poor water quality in the lake could be factors.

Typically intense summer heat will deplete oxygen from the water, and result in fish deaths, but there hasn’t been such a stretch of heat. Footage shows a high amount of algae, which is a likely culprit.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF)  website maintains that Fountain Lake, called Boat Lake, is not recommended for fishing, though there are thousands of fish there.

Because of a history of fish kills caused by oxygen depletion, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries no longer stocks channel catfish in this lake.

Largemouth bass, catfish and bluegill fish do still inhabit the lake, remaining from years of species reproduction.

Corey King's impressive catch.

Corey King's impressive catch.

The dead fish found this week are but a fraction of what likely remains, a number which is in the thousands, according to Lee Walker with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

In fact, Walker said just last week, on April 10, Corey King caught an 8 lb. 10 oz. largemouth bass.

“This 8lbs 10 oz. largemouth bass is a real trophy for any angler and double special coming out of an urban lake like this,” Walker said. “The bass was released by the angler back into Fountain Lake.”

CBS 6 will update this report when water samples come back in a few days.

three park lakesThere are three other lakes maintained and stocked by the city, two also located in Byrd Park.

Bryan Park contains two adjacent lakes of approximately six acres each. It is located just north of the intersection of I-64 and I-95. Bryan Park lakes contain channel catfish, which are stocked annually, as well as reproducing populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, and pumpkinseed sunfish.

Shields Lake is located in Byrd Park. Channel catfish are stocked annually, and the lake also contains reproducing populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, yellow perch, and brown bullheads. Additionally, catchable-size trout are stocked in the lake from November through February. A trout license is required in addition to a fishing license in order to fish the lake between November 1 and April 30.

Swan Lake is also located in Byrd Park. Channel catfish are stocked annually, and the lake also contains reproducing populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, and brown bullheads.


  • Stacy

    All 3 lakes have declined over the years, the fountain lake being the absolute worst.
    The problem with shields lake is a small group of koi, 3 to be exact that are the size of a small car .. In comparison to other fish. Those carp destroy the bottom of the lake making the water murky and it almost impossible for the native population to survive. It’s a shame the city stocks fish here only for them to “surface” dead a few days later because some idiot dropped their koi there over the winter.

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