FRANKFORT SQUARE, Ill. (STMW) – The dead fish lying along the shore of Woodlawn Pond have raised concerns from neighbors and fishermen in southwest suburban Frankfort Square.

But it’s “normal,” said Jim Randall, executive director of the Frankfort Square Park District, which owns the pond at 7443 Woodlawn Drive.

His phone has been ringing off the wall since the fish were discovered last week.

Although it may look a bit scary and unsightly, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources told the park district to leave the dead fish on the banks as fertilizer.

More than likely, the kill was caused by too little oxygen and too many fish in the water, Randall said. The IDNR is to send out a fish biologist later this week to confirm that.

A fish kill occurred once before at the pond, Randall said. It happens when the excessive heat of summer reduces the amount of oxygen in the water and then the change to cooler temperatures in the fall further reduces the oxygen.

It’s a “healthy body of water,” Randall said – so healthy that there is an overabundance of largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. When the oxygen level drops, there is not enough to sustain the large fish population.

Woodlawn Pond is the site of the park district’s popular annual fishing derby and is teeming with game fish.

Howie Phillips and his son planned to fish there over the weekend but were “stunned” by the number of fish on the shore, said his wife, Laura.

She wondered whether there was something in the water that could be seeping into the ground.

“It’s a devastating loss of fish,” she said. “My husband fishes there all the time. We’ve never seen anything like this.”

Randall said the park district encourages local fishermen to catch and release the fish. But since the state stocks the pond, it allows people to take the fish as long as they have a fishing license, he said.

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