PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Dean Lake resident Bill Haddix noticed a few dead fish Saturday morning, which is not unusual. But he began getting emails from people and realized it wasn't just at his shore.
Later in the day Saturday, the people who use Dean Lake knew they were dealing with a major fish kill.
The dead fish mostly were Northern Pike , which don't handle warm weather very well. Shallow water and intense heat are believed to be factors in their deaths.
"The lake is so shallow there's not enough oxygen in the lake," Haddix told 24 Hour News 8. "There's no place for the bigger fish to hide from the heat, because they'd normally go to a deep spot to keep cool. Dean Lake's not that deep.
DNR officials confirmed they're investigating fish kills - the majority involving Northern Pike - in several Michigan waterways including Dean Lake, the Kalamazoo River and the Flat River near Lowell.
It may take days before officials know just how widespread the kill is. And while the heat is the most obvious culprit, biologists want to make sure nothing else is to blame.
Haddix and other Dean Lake residents are worried about more than just the fish.
"It's hard on the lake," he said. "We're just seeing the big fish. There's turtles and other things eating stuff that might die that are smaller. It's hard to say."
But officials at the DNR said the worst if likely over, and that other species - like turtles - have nothing to worry about.
A memorial is scheduled Thursday night for three young siblings who died in an apartment fire 10 months ago.
A donation account has been set up to help the family with its search to find a missing loved one.
Wind chills will be in the single figures Thursday, with snowfall totals in the 1- to 3-inch range.