WYMORE, NEB. - Considered by many anglers, a fishing honey hole in southeast Nebraska, has taken on the appearance of a fish graveyard.

Big Indian Lake, about 20 miles south of Beatrice near Wymore, recently saw hundreds of fish wash up dead on shore. Aaron Blank is the Southeast District Fisheries Supervisor for Nebraska Game and Parks. He says an algal bloom due to changing weather conditions is to blame.

“What we believe happened was we had that big heat wave with temperatures in the high 90’s and over 100… Likely, we had a really large algal bloom, followed up by cool temps and rain.”

On Monday morning, Blank and his team at Game and Parks conducted sampling of Big Indian, which showed a large percentage of the lakes adult fish population is dead. However, they did find at least some adult fish from every species native to the lake, minus Saugeye. An even bigger positive, they did find numbers of younger fish, which could be crucial to Big Indian’s recovery.

“We do have fingerling bass, bluegill, crappies,” Blank said. “A good number of adult catfish are still left in here… It was bad, but there are still fish left to start repopulating.”

While Blank and his team did find young fish that could to lead to a bounce back, it only starts a long journey for the Gage County lake. Blank recommends that the many anglers who frequent Big Indian, should look for other options.

“It [fishing] is going to be very impacted,” Blank said. “I’d advise looking elsewhere for the next at least one to two years. You can think of it similarly to the first renovation we did here. It takes some time to build that sport fish population up to a sizable population that people can fish.”

As far as other activities in the water, Blank recommends caution.

“All those fish are dying or have died, so there’s an oily substance on the water,” Blank said. “It’s something I’d advise swimming in, but in the next few weeks, water quality should be back to normal."

As Game and Parks continues to gain information, they will adjust stocking as needed.