Extensive fish kill reported at Lake Salvador, Bayou Gauche

Bayou Gauche

The fish kill is related to Hurricane Ida

A fish kill related to Hurricane Ida has been reported in Lake Salvador at Bayou Gauche. Chris Boudreaux of Belle Chasse reported seeing an incredible number of dead freshwater fish and crabs in the water as he traveled to his camp at Short-Cut Resort near Bayou Gauche on Tuesday.

“There were dead sac-a-lait, bass and catfish including some big cats — in the water at Bayou Gauche,” Boudreaux said. “It was an amazing number of fish; it seems like the saltwater just poured in up there and killed everything.”

He speculated that fish die-off was probable up the water system as far as Des Allemands.

Boudreaux also saw evidence that a substantial storm surge moved through the area. 

“Water settled about 7 or 8 feet above (normal), and I poured saltwater out of (items in my shed) that were 4 or 5 feet above (that),” he said. “That would make it a 10- or 11-foot surge, easy.”

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries warned residents of the potential for fish die-off in a news release published on Sept. 3. According to the release: fish kills related to hurricanes are generally caused by a low dissolved-oxygen level in the water, storm surge, the churning up of oxygen-poor water and sediment and a sudden input of large amounts of organic debris into waterways. Decomposition of organic material will further deplete the dissolved oxygen in the water, causing fish to “suffocate.”

Previous hurricanes have also caused fish kills

Boudreaux said that he’s seen similar fish kills after hurricanes before. 

“But I’ve never seen it happen at this scale; of course, I’ve never seen a storm this big, either,” he said. 

Boudreaux’s camp sustained severe damage during the storm, especially to the roof of the structure. 

“My camp is done,” he said. “I don’t have the time or supplies to rebuild the roof.”

Boudreaux worries about what recovery will look like. 

“Hopefully, (Ida) hasn’t destroyed the fishing (at Bayou Gauche) forever; it’s sickening to think about,” he said.

Louisiana’s native fish species have a perfect record of rebounding from hurricanes and other seemingly catastrophic environmental events. 

“Storm-related fish kills have occurred in Louisiana since before recorded history, and the ecosystems have evolved to be resilient and bounce back from them,” the LDWF release read. “While fish kills are shocking to experience and can appear devastating, they often lead to a rejuvenated system that is healthy and naturally replenished in the following years.”  

About Will Martin 104 Articles
Will Martin is an adventure writer based in New Orleans, LA. He pens fiction and nonfiction stories at willmartin.info, and is a staff writer at Louisiana Sportsman. He can be reached at willm@lasmag.com.

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