Crews in New York started to cleanup a massive fish die-off on Lake Champlain Monday. The state sent in some prisoners to help with the really smelly job of getting rid of thousands of dead fish.

Inmates from the Moriah prison camp were at the shoreline sites Monday morning with rakes and shovels. They were scooping up the hundreds of thousands of dead alewives that washed up on the beaches along Port Henry bay.

The fish have been there nearly two weeks and are beginning to rot and smell. Nearly 200 summer campers are due in to the Bulwagga Bay Campsite on Friday. A race is on to clean up the place before they arrive.

"We've had cooler weather the last few days so it hasn't been to bad. Now they are getting them picked up just in time for the warm weather. The lake level is dropping so we should be in good shape," says campsite manager Roy Brown.

State conservation officials claim that rapidly warming waters of the lake shocked the alewives and killed them. They say this is not an uncommon thing to happen.

The state wanted the dead fish hauled to a nearby landfill but it was turned down at two locations. The Clinton County landfill is run by Cassella Waste Management and they volunteered to accept them at no charge. Northern container of Plattsburgh also volunteered to haul them free.

Area fishermen say that since first noticing the alewives in the lake the fishing has deteriorated. They say it is not good now and no one knows why.

"I've heard a lot of things like the water temperature changing quickly. I don't know if I buy that so much... it seems strange. We've had a lot of run-off along with warm weather and I can't see how the water would change that quick," says longtime fisherman Ken Stonitsch.

The village beach is scheduled to open this Saturday and officials said Monday that it would happen on schedule. But the odor of all those dead fish just might linger for a little while.

The cleanup could take the rest of this week. That would be just in time to greet the summer residents as they come in breathing fresh air.