WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is trying to determine what caused thousands of crappie to die at Loon Lake in Whitley County.

Photos shared to WANE 15 appear to show hundreds or more of the fish floating along the shore. It doesn’t appear any other type of fish was affected according to the DNR.

Photo of fish dead along the shore of Loon Lake

The DNR said the fish kill involved “thousands of crappie.”

Loon Lake resident Walt Hessler does lake enhancement like water quality and he has been helping with the effort.

“I’ve been here 20 years and we’ve never experienced anything like this. Sometimes you get in the spring on ice out, but this is far more significant,” Hessler said.


Debbie Hiss who also lives on Loon Lake discovered some of the dead crappie as well and says at first she didn’t realize the scope of the situation.


“Initially, it was just a couple and at that point I thought someone had been fishing and they just took some of their fish and threw it back in the water and it had swallowed a hook or something,” Hiss said.

However, when Hiss found out the problem was much bigger and thousands of crappies were dead she was surprised.

“It was scary and the fact that it was only one type of fish is also very scary,” Hiss said.

While it is an unfortunate situation, Hiss says the community here really comes together when incidents like this happen.

“As soon as this started happening, everybody started communicating. Everybody started to try and find out what was going on, what do we do about it,” Hiss said.

DNR said, though, that it doesn’t believe the cause was a toxic event such as a chemical spill or release because no other small fish species were impacted.