Found this on
"We were on the phone this morning with Region 8 DEC Department of Fisheries. They have already been here taking samples of dead fish, once about 3 weeks ago and the second time on Wednesday the 5th. According to the gentleman we spoke to, the alewife die off on Seneca Lake is being caused by a protozoan (parasite) called Chilodonella. It affects the gills causing them to oversecrete mucous and essentially the fish suffocates.
A quick internet search shows that this species can be found in ponds and aquariums. Apparently it will spread more rapidly when there are dense concentrations of fish, as in the alewives congregating near shore to spawn. What concerns us is that this is an enormous lake and the die off is happening over the entire lake. The DEC biologist said that a larger than normal baitfish population will aggravate the problem and cause a die off and that may be the case this year. He said that would also explain the difficullty anglers are having lately.
The only instance he could point to that was similar to this was back in the '60's when there were larger than normal baitfish populations and die off's occurred on an annual basis.
We would welcome any feedback from any of you "old timers" that could shed some light on this."
This past week there were a number of fish washed up on my shore. We had many alewife ( more then i can count ) 2 large carp, one rainbow, one small perch, and a catfish.