Monday, June 28, 2010

Colorado Gill Lice Found...It's Here and It's Not Good. Lice Found on The Blue River

Trout Parasites in Colorado

Fishing some of Colorado's Top trout waters this Spring gave me a huge wake up call. Was it the cold weather we encountered most weekends in Summit/Grand county?..nope, was it the annoying crowd factor that covers most fisheries in the state in the Springtime?...not a chance, was it the lack of finding big trout to catch, not even close.

We encountered a few too many fish that became the latest victim in this already tough trout battle we fight to keep them healthy each year. Gill lice was the culprit and to see a few of our prized trout having the life sucked out of them over time is a blow never easy to accept. Whether it's the Blue River where these were found or past locations that you've heard about over the years, the future of our waters is yet to be figured out. Mud snails are just the beginning, many new breeds of parasites will be here shortly unfortunately, it's just a matter of time before treatments can be apllied to and more money is spent on cures.

Information I received from many of the back-n-forth emails with Colorado's Top Fisheries Biologist Pete Walker this Spring. Pete is listed as:
"Senior Fish Pathologist Colorado DNR - Division of Wildlife- -Aquatic Animal Health Program"

Our most serious discovery of the past year was the finding of a new but apparently expanding population of rusty crayfish, Orconectes rusticus, in Catamount Lake and the stretch of the Yampa River for a couple of miles directly below the lake’s outlet. This may well prove especially damaging to the system from an endangered species recovery standpoint. The crayfish species is a dominating one and especially omnivorous with an appetite for rooted aquatic vegetation.

You are probably aware of our findings of zebra and quagga mussel larvae in 8 lakes on both sides of the Divide. It remains to be seen whether or not any of these introductions will “take.”
I personally found two sloughs here in Morgan County invaded by mosquitofern, Azolla sp. Elsewhere we have Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, and Dydimosphenia geminata, the rogue diatom also known as “rock snot.”

Who knew that New Zealand mudsnails were only the dress rehearsal for what was to come!


Where do we go from here? Good question, information is key whether from knowing what parasites are affecting your local trout streams, what local fisheries are doing to protect or what you can do on a local level to help prevent any further outbreaks when out fishing.

A special thanks also goes out to others that helped me research this matter and other issues regarding the Blue River the last few months.
christine hanson-FWS Gov; Tom Remington State of Colorado; Greg Gerlich-State of Colorado; chris myrick-Colorado State Univ; Carolyn Gunn-State of Colorado; Jeff.VerSteeg-State of Colorado, Dave Stout BLM, Susie BLM offices Kremmlimg.

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Nick said...

Troutdawg, what are some things us as fisherman can do to alleviate the pressure these invasive species put on the our fish and their habitat?

Peter Strid said...

God..that looks terrible.

Troutdawg said...

That's the all important question I guess these days regarding these nasty things. You probably know more than me in these matters,but I guess for starters simple steps when it comes to things like mud snails we can take precautions like the one listed below to help. I know the Colorado Division of Wildlife has some great info on their site as well for steps to take:
Earlier studies indicated that the snails could be killed by cleaning thoroughly and drying the waders for several days. Or they could be frozen for 3 to 6 hours or more. These new recommendations come from a California study that tested various methods of killing the snails on waders and wading boots. Several chemicals will do the job, but the following is probably the most convenient for anglers.

1. Thoroughly brush gear with a stiff bristled brush to remove all snails. Be sure to brush boot treads, laces and other hiding places.

2. Mix Formula 409 Cleaner Degreaser/Disinfectant and equal parts water in a gear dry sack or other large, sturdy plastic container.

3. Place wading boots or wading gear in the gear dry sack and shake vigorously for 5 minutes, allowing the solution to cover all surfaces.

4. Allow to soak in solution for at least 5 minutes and your gear should be NZMS free.

As far as being aware of other invasive species out there, reporting them to local experts so they can do testing if needed and stay updated on local reports listed on sites such as:
Colorado Division of Wildlife
US Fish and Wildlife Service Offices in Colorado

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an impending problem out West. I definitely wash off my waders and boots after certain areas of fishing but not sure if they can truly stop some of these little pests from invading. Fingers crossed.