Hundreds of dead fish are still littering the shores of one of Tyrone’s most popular fishing lakes, horrifying anglers and passers-by.
Staff from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) have been removing the rotting bodies from Brantry Lough in plastic bags all week.
It is now estimated that the total number of dead fish, which are mostly stocked trout, will be in the region of 10,000.
DCAL is investigating whether a difference in temperature between the tanks in which the fish were transported and the lough itself could have contributed to the kill, which was one of the worst ever seen in the area.
However, local fishermen have claimed they noticed the first signs of trouble weeks ago, and had warned the Fishery Department that a catastrophe was about to happen
It is believed that most of the dead fish were stocked trout introduced to the lough in the preceding weeks, rather than coarse fish such as roach or perch.
Fishing expert Tommy Conlon said the fishery department should tackle the problems facing the trout population and allow the lough to return to a first-class fishery.
For the full story see the Tyrone Times next week.
“The lough has been in decline for sometime, and very few people are fishing there now”, he said.
“Not so long ago hundreds of people fished it every week for the best brown trout you could catch.
“However, roach and perch were introduced, and the perch bred ferociously, to the extent that the lake is now hiving with fish.
“There needs to be some sort of cull, or change to the fishery’s policy to allow the fish population to stabilise.
“The water was very warm for the past week, and this contributed to the large number of fish deaths, but the underlying problem is overcrowding.”
Another fisherman claimed to have observed fishery staff stocking the fish with trout several times in the past number of weeks.
“It was clear to me and other fishermen that the trout weren’t behaving as they should”, he said.
“They were acting strangely and seemed to be staying at the bottom of the lake rather than coming up to feed on flies.
“They were obviously suffering and the water quality was deteriorating. The issue was raised with DCAL, but they appeared to do nothing about it.