, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

August 18, 2010

Oxygen levels can kill minnows, too

— This past week, customers voiced their opinions about the stripers that were killed below Fort Gibson Dam.

When the Corps turned off the turbines late Wednesday, stripers were trapped in the basin tanks below the gates and died from the lack of oxygen.

With the daytime temperatures in the triple digits, hot concrete, as well as the warm water, all contributed to the low oxygen levels.

It has been policy for the powerhouse to open the sluice gates and partially open the flood gates in mid-June to add fresh water to the basin tanks.

Because this was not done, many stripers paid the ultimate price and succumbed to the short supply of oxygen.

The problem was corrected when several anglers called the proper authorities.

Supervisors with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife examined the conditions and corrections were made in order to help the remaining stripers.

The sluice gates and flood gates were opened to increase oxygen levels. This should solve the problem.

Minnows have the same problem. Extra care must be taken when fishing with minnows. Poor water, bad containers, extreme water temperatures and different types of disease all contribute to a loss of bait.

Containers and water must be clean from oils, paints or solvents that will kill the minnows.

Use Styrofoam containers that will hold oxygen.

A clean, 5-gallon bucket works well. Never use city or rural water without treating the water for chlorine or other additives that will kill the minnows.

Never use bleach to clean a minnow bucket. Vinegar along with salt works well.

If there was a fungus or disease, then use the bleach.

When using bleach, rinse container good and pour vinegar in container and let stand for several minutes, then rinse again. The vinegar will dilute any left over bleach and not harm the minnows.

Make sure the water temperature is cool and not freezing or too warm.

A temperature change of five degrees, hot or cold, will shock the minnows and cause a loss of bait.

I recommend freezing a 2-liter bottle of water.

When you go fishing put the frozen bottle in the minnow container. The bottle keeps the water cool and also supplies you with a cool drink later.

Fishing below the Dam has been slow. Anglers have been snagging small spoonbills. I have not seen anything over 50-pounds since May.

Remember, when snagging, you can not take a paddlefish home on Mondays or Fridays.

Tickets have been written for violation of this regulation.

So please, do not take a paddlefish home or give it away on Mondays or Fridays.

A 2010 Paddlefish Permit is required to snag for paddlefish. Any Oklahoma Licensed Dealer can issue these permits. You can get one online at

Anglers have been wading to the island and catching sandbass using roostertails, inline spinners or curly tail jigs.

White has been the best color to use, no matter which lure you use.

Wading in the water is a cool way to beat the heat.

Please be careful and obey any signs and laws that apply to the water your wading in. Be aware of the conditions and situation you may be in.

No fish is worth getting a ticket, causing a accident or losing one’s life.

Fall is just around the corner. Fall fishing, like Spring is the best time to get out and enjoy the sites and what Nature has to offer.

Enjoy the cooler weather the next couple of weeks. Bring in your fish for a picture.

Till next time, good luck and good fishing.

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Fort Gibson
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