It's called a "fish kill."
Shad, crappie, brim, bass, catfish all popped up dead on a small pond in Gurdon. A lack of oxygen, resulting from the drought, left people who usually enjoy fishing on the pond without a place to go.
Thousands of fish have gone belly up in the pond.
Charles Felton hates to see his fishing hole, somewhere he's gone to for years, come to this.
"It's sad... It's kinda hard to believe," he said. "Gotta travel now to go fishing."
He's lived near the pond his whole life and has never seen this happen before.
Gurdon Mayor, Clayton Franklin said, "There used to be a lot of fish here. We got less now"
The City of Gurdon drained the lake about a year ago for construction reasons, then the drought hit.
"Sad thing is we hadn't had rain in this part of the state in a long long time and our lake hasn't filled back up," said Mayor Franklin. "Our unusually hot weather probably contributed to that."
Those lake levels, combined with the drought and this heat, simply put, depleted the oxygen levels. Just like people, fish can't live without oxygen.
It's called turning over. Between 10 and 11 Thursday morning, the oxygen levels were around 3.2 parts per million of dissolved oxygen. In the early morning hours it was likely around one parts per million of dissolved oxygen. Less oxygen kills the fish.
Apparently however, it's not all that uncommon.
"Fish kills are a normal part of an ecosystem," said Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Fish Pathologist, Kelly Winningham.
The dead fish likely started dying around 3-6 a.m. Thursday morning. That's when oxygen levels were at their lowest.
"The fish were already stressed by that time, passed the point of no return," Winningham said.
What people don't understand though, they've never seen this happen here.
It was originally dug as a pond for the railroad steam engines, then used to furnish water to saw mills in the area.
"The lake is probably 80, 90 years old and it's never had this problem before," said Mayor Franklin.
Further strengthening the probability: this is due to the weather conditions this year.
Winningham confirmed, this is indicative of the drought.
It's left those hoping to fish, with nothing on the end of their line.
"I don't know if the fish are gonna be biting," Felton said. "Looks like half of them are dead."
Game and Fish however, said there's still fish alive, in fact, probably only the big ones.
Since the fish kill will probably continue into Friday morning hours, Game and Fish said if you happen to see a fish come to the surface, about to die (but not already dead), you can catch it, and eat it.