Major fish kill prompts officials to test water, discourage swimming, eating fish from Lake Murvaul

First round of test results expected Wednesday

Lake Murvaul Updated

PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Officials are asking people to not swim in or eat fish out of Lake Murvaul in Panola County until they can determine what’s killing fish and other wildlife at the lake.

According to Bregan Brown with Texas Parks and Wildlife, the first report of fish kill came on March 27, involving catfish.

“Since then, we’ve had additional reports come in from lake residents,” Brown said. “And we’ve been out two previous times to investigate the fish kill, at which point we’ve seen several different species of fish affected here in very large quantities.”

On Monday, Brown was at Lake Murvaul to collect samples for testing. She showed us several bottles filled with the blue-green water that she kept on ice inside a cooler. She said the samples are being sent to Baylor University in Waco for testing of cyanobacteria load and potential toxins.

On Friday, lake officials discovered what appeared to be cyanobacteria, or what’s commonly referred to as blue-green algae, along the lake’s shore.

An image captured at Lake Murvaul on Friday, April 30.
An image captured at Lake Murvaul on Friday, April 30. (Source: Courtesy photo)

“It is always present in the lake,” Brown said. “It’s just when they bloom in large quantities, they grow rapidly and become potentially harmful.”

Aside from finding dead fish, other animals have also been found dead. Brown said this specifically included scavengers. A video posted to Facebook shows a raccoon on a lake pier acting strange. The person who posted the video believed the animal died soon after they captured the video.

“We are waiting on the bacteriology and virology that they’re testing in the lab,” Brown said about samples collected today and last Friday. The first round of results are expected possibly by Wednesday.

As they wait for results, lake officials have closed the lake’s swimming area and are asking people to not eat any fish caught in the lake.

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