Large Fish Kill on the Rocky River

written by staff

There has reportedly been a large fish kill on the Rocky River near Berea, Ohio and investigators are working to understand the cause.

Late Sunday afternoon, a fisherman called in the discovery of a large stretch of dead and dying fish. That count is now estimated in the tens of thousands and spans a three-to-five mile stretch of the East Branch of the Rocky River. Most of the dead have already sunk to the bottom, which is making an accurate estimation of the loss difficult.

Joyce Smith confirmed on location with the Cleveland Metroparks and told that so far, 22 different species have been identified. The majority of the kill seem to be smaller fish, like creek chubs, darters and other minnow-like fish, however steelhead and smallmouth bass have been found in modest numbers. The one species with a seemingly zero mortality rate is carp. As of this writing, no carp have been reported dead anywhere in the river.

The Cleveland Metroparks, Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Division of Wildlife are investigating, but a cause has not been identified and the full scope of the kill is still being understood.

The agencies have confirmed that the fish kill began in the Mill Stream Run reservation, behind the Cleveland Metroparks toboggan run. The bulk of the stretch of dead fish runs between Bonnie Park and Wallace Lake in Berea, but the dead steelhead were reported where the East Branch connects with the main stem of the Rocky River.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Joyce Smith for her work and investigation into this story.