WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) — On a typical summer day, you can find James Summerson fishing on Lake Wilson.
Tuesday that wasn’t the case.
“I see the lake about half the size it was, and I’m looking at all them dead fish that I planned on catching,” said Summerson.
Hundreds of dead fish were in Lake Wilson over the weekend causing an unpleasant odor.
The city of Wilson says a drought has caused water in the lake to recede.
“It’s depressing just to see the dead fish and smell the dead fish and then there are not that many people here today and I think it’s because of this,” said Mary Speight, who visits the lake nearly every day.
The city says water has been dropping all summer. It’s currently six feet below the usual level.
It’s not the only area in North Carolina dealing with abnormally dry or drought conditions.
The U.S. Geological Survey shows most areas in Wilson County received less than a quarter of an inch of rain last week.
Jill Howell is the Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper with Sound Rivers. She has been keeping a close eye on fish kills.
“It’s a sign that waters are in distress,” said Howell.
The city of Wilson says to help alleviate the issue they contacted the owners of Silver Lake, a privately owned lake that feeds into Lake Wilson.
Tuesday, the owners of Silver Lake opened the gate on their dam to allow water to flow through.
The city says it has helped a little, but the only thing they can do is wait for more rain.
The good news is the drought isn’t affecting the city’s water supply.
Wilson receives their water from Wiggins Mill which is fed by the Buckhorn Reservoir via the Contentnea Creek.
The city says they do draw raw water at Toisnot Lake which is why they can’t close the dam completely at Lake Wilson. They say the dam’s gates are always partially open to maintain stream flow and keep up water quality in the stream at Toisnot.
Right now, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has not issued any warnings about fish caught in low water levels.