Wildlife officials investigate fish kill

By Rebekah Pewitt | 

HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Several dead fish were spotted along a creek in Harlan County, and many in the community are wanting to know who or what is responsible.

There are not many left in the water, but the past few days have been a different story.

Frank Linshumate, who lives near the water says he has seen the fish come and go.

“Massive amounts of fish dying, and the water was black, and we just keep seeing dead fish everywhere,” said Linshumate.

And Timothy Blanton says the numbers are adding up saying, “yesterday evening when it was dark, I think I counted, within just a minute, about 20 to 25 of them.”

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department and Environmental Protection Agency are investigating the fish kill in Catrons Creek.

And though the rain has washed many away some of the fish have stuck around.

“We're finding different size fish from 13 to 14 inches down to minnow size,” says Steve Combs with the Fish and Wildlife Department.

Officials have not yet determined what is killing the fish, but people living nearby have their own suspicions.

Linshumate says, “the mines release their wash plant.”

And they say it isn't the first time the water has somehow been contaminated.

“I've lived here 33 years within 200 yards of this river. I've played in it. I was hoping my kids were going to get to play in it, but you can't,” says

Officials say there could be several causes but water sample results are still pending.

Fish and wildlife officials say discovering the cause of the kill may prove difficult; as Sunday's rains likely washed away any pollutants that were in the water.

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