The Wyoming Game and Fish Department say numerous dead catfish that have washed up on shore at Sloans Lake in Cheyenne likely died from temperature shock.

The agency says 500 channel catfish weighing between two to three pounds were stocked in the lake in December after the Wyoming Women’s Center -- which provided the 1,500 smaller, catchable-sized channel catfish the lake received in July -- contacted them because they needed space in their facility.

"The fish were healthy when they were stocked," said Laramie Region Fisheries Supervisor Bobby Compton. "They most likely died from temperature shock when they went from the warmer water in the hatchery to the ice-covered lake."

"We have never attempted to stock catfish through the ice, but felt they should acclimate accordingly and survive, but this hardy fish species simply didn't do well," added Compton. "People were seeing dead fish through the ice shortly after stocking, and when the ice melted there were more."

Game and Fish personnel have since retrieved many of the dead fish.

Compton says other species in the lake are doing fine and the dead catfish were an isolated incident.

"Nothing is wrong with the water quality," he said. "The fish in Sloans Lake are healthy and safe to eat."

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