Biologist Says Fish Adapting to Drought

By: Chris Whited Email
By: Chris Whited Email

As drought conditions continue to plague Mississippi and Alabama, the water levels on creeks, streams, and lakes around the area go even lower.

Low water levels on Alamuchee Creek in Sumter County, and others, are not unusual for the fish population to deal with and adapt to, according to John McCall, professor of biology at the University of West Alabama.

"They will find a deeper pool. Some of them will retreat down river," McCall said. "Some of them, some unfortunate individuals, will get caught in a pool that dries up and will not make it. The population is used to this and they'll deal with it."

McCall says it's not unusual for species to change their habitat during these dry situations. In fact, while we were taping our story, men were dredging the river for the fish species. We saw several varieties show up in this area that are not common for this part of the creek.

"This is a brook silver side," said McCall of one. "Normally we find these in standing water. There are some beaver ponds that are connected to the stream. Now that doesn't mean they won't be found in the stream but it's possible they have moved from those dried up standing water habitats back into the stream and when the water goes back up into the stream."

McCall said so far he's not heard complaints from the local fisherman in west Alabama about the conditions. In fact he says most say they are catching fish in places where they used to never have a nibble.

McCall says fish spawning could become an issue down the road, if the drought continues to persist.


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