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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