Too much of a good thing is causing problems at the Clinton Lake dam outlet.
Rapid release of lake water means more fish in the outlet on the dam's east side. And more fish attract more fishermen who leave more trash, said Jon Carlisle, ranger and natural resources specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"If all the trash isn't picked up, then the rains come and it gets washed down the river," Carlisle said.
More fish also lure more fishermen who use hooks to try to snag the sides of fish, which is illegal, Carlisle said.
Because of those problems, Corps officials temporarily closed the outlet - effective today - for the first time since 1993. Carlisle said he wasn't sure how long it would last.
The corps is releasing 1,000 cubic feet of lake water per second, Carlisle said. A normal release is 21 cubic feet, he said. The release into the outlet and then the Wakarusa River, the fourth this year, is necessary because of heavy rains, he said.
"Before we did our last release, the amount of trash there was just more than we could tolerate," Carlisle said, listing fishing lines, food, beverages and aluminum cans.
Thursday morning, about a dozen people fished at the outlet. Paper and fast-food wrappers littered the banks. A beer bottle was left on top of a post in the parking lot.
Fisherman Tom King, Topeka, said the amount of trash was high, but he'd seen it a lot worse.
"There were some people who came out and sat and ate their McDonald's and then just left their stuff," King said, pointing to trash.
Ottawa fisherman Blaine Scott said he'd been at the outlet during other releases when the crowd was nearly out of control.
"Some people were drunk, and there'd be fights," he said.