LAKELAND (FOX 13) - There is a smelly mess at Lake Hancock, but the vultures certainly don't mind.
They're feasting on thousands of dead fish that are washing up on shore.
"It's disgusting," said Nickelas Groene of Eagle Lake. "It stinks."
The mess may be around for a while.
"This fish kill ain't over. If you'll look over there you'll see 'em, with their backs out of the water gasping for air right now,'" Kendall Thomas, a commercial fisherman who has been working on the lake since he was a little kid, told FOX 13.
According to environmental experts, the fish kill is the result of a perfect storm. The water level has dropped because we are in a drought. When that happens algae blooms and takes oxygen from the water. When there is an insufficient amount of oxygen in the water, fish die.
Many commercial fishermen also blame Water Management officials for the low water level. They say the managers release too much water from the lake into the Peace River to keep its level up.
"I know Peace River needs it, but we need it too," said Thomas.
Environmental experts say a big rain would go a long way towards ending the fish kill, but that may still be a long way off.