Post By: Kokanee Bro Posted: 9/11/2019 8:46:58 PMPoints: 239
Today I went to Cabelas to get some gear and spoke with a guy who told me that they found gill lice in the egg collecting operations. I asked him for a source, and he said CPW announced it. This would be horrible news if it is true, so I immediately researched it when I got home. I was not able to find anything about gill lice in Wolford in my searches. Is anyone aware of this report? I am really hoping it is not true, but if so can someone provide me a source?
Reply by: Kokanee Bro Posted: 9/12/2019 7:25:11 AM Points: 239
Yes at wolford. I figured he was talking about last year’s spawning operations. But like I said, I couldn’t find any research to corroborate this rumor. I will be up there Saturday, and I will check any fish I may catch.
Reply by: ScottyK Posted: 9/12/2019 7:28:16 AM Points: 139
No gill lice in wolford.....I helped harvest wolford no signs of it. Williams fork, cheeseman, and green mountan have it...no more stocking of trout in green mountain to try to eliminate host fish....sad for those fisheries.
Gill lice is a naturally occurring parasite that can become a problem if the infestation is heavy.
Think of it like the flu. It's always out there and you're likely to get sick from time to time, but it only becomes a problem if there are a lot of contagious people in a small area, and if those people have weak immune systems.
So you can find gill lice anywhere, and it's almost certainly present in Wolford and Blue Mesa. It'll only become a problem if overcrowding and water quality problems create a scenario of lots of stressed-out, contagious fish.
Hunter unfortunately I have seen the gill lice first hand at Blue Mesa and saw it on most of the fish we caught recently. Apparently it was introduced about 6 years ago when they had low egg yields and brought in fish from another hatchery that had them. In my wolford research I found this: [log in for link] (scroll to the bottom for Gill lice info)
They have pretty much taken hold. 9% had them in 2016 and 97% had them last year. Bad news for what was the best Koke lake in the state
Also found this if anyone is interested in what lakes that do or don't have them: [log in for link]
There are some pictures in there also that may help you identify them
Here is some more info written up by Bernie Keefe: [log in for link]
Hi guys, Scott gave me a heads-up that this was being discussed. We have never found any gill lice in fish at Wolford. If the kokanee program in this state has any hope of continuing into the future, we desperately need to keep it that way. I think that the information coming from Cabela's probably got Blue Mesa confused in the story, because the gill lice infestation at BM has become very heavy in the past few years. Brookieflyfisher's information is misleading in that it is NOT always out there, it's NOT native and it's NOT present in Wolford. The ONLY WAY it would appear in Wolford is if fish (rainbows) that have gill lice are stocked somewhere in the watershed that drains into the lake, the fish find their way down to the lake and introduce the parasite to the reservoir. Kokanee Bro makes a misleading statement regarding the stocking of fish with gill lice. This did not happen in Blue Mesa Reservoir directly, and had nothing to do with kokanee at all. Infested rainbows were stocked elsewhere in the watershed and the parasite found its way into the lake in the same way I described above. Here's the good news about Green Mountain: Scott is right that we had not stocked a single fish there since 2015, in order to try to at least reduce the density of the gill lice infestation there. No kokanee have been stocked since 2014. This past June, I spent 5 days running gillnets on Green Mountain, and out of 40 gillnets (which is a lot), I caught a grand total of ONE rainbow trout. That rainbow had zero gill lice on it. So, this summer we ended the stocking moratorium and stocked a bunch of Snake River cutthroat fingerlings. That's what happened to be available from the hatcheries on short notice, and as a bonus, as far as we know they don't appear to get gill lice anyway. Assuming we have enough kokanee available, I intend to stock kokanee again in spring 2020, for the first time since 2014. So hopefully things will be looking up at Green Mountain. Thanks for the interest, and let me know if you have additional questions!
Thanks for the info and clarification Ewert. The information I had on Blue Mesa about the introduction of gill lice was given to me directly from the ANS inspector at the lake so I assumed it was true. Good to hear about green mountain. Keep up the good work! I appreciate you
I seen this post and knew Jon Ewert, aquatic biologist for the state would have some intrest as he is a member of the explorer...I have always been impressed with him and his crew of professionals...truly dedicated to bringing us the best fishing possible. Hats off to them.
Yeah he was adamant about it too. I even asked him if he was thinking of Blue Mesa or Green Mountain. He said “catch them while you still can”... It really bummed me out. So happy to learn it is not true. Kind of upset with the ANS inspector at Blue Mesa too for not having his facts straight and mad at myself for not fact checking before I repeated it.
Reply by: not too old to fish Posted: 9/12/2019 7:47:44 PM Points: 5235
Thanks to Jon Ewert for his input and the update on GreenMountain . It sounds like the problem has been controlled and I guess time will tell if it's a cure. I did enjoy ice fishing for Kokes at GM before the crash. Jon, Thanks again for your efforts and input.
Reply by: fishingmanlee Posted: 9/16/2019 9:51:36 AM Points: 176
IT will be VERY interesting to see how an absence of koke and trout will affect the pike and macks. I very rarely catch small pike out of willies like I might out of south park lakes. Point is with minimal cannibalizing I wonder what that will do for population and body condition of the big predators? That place does, however, need need the lice out of the system I would argue at any cost.
Somebody more credible than me can chime in but when gill lice are in a system they usually show up in schooling salmonids kokanee and rainbows acutely noticeable by maggot like parasites attached to the fishes gills. They are grossly detected by falling numbers of fish along which decreased body conditions.
Mr. Ewert, is there a list of species that can get gill lice and those that can't? My understanding is that Lake Trout do not get it, but that Brook Trout can get it. They are both Char, so why one and not the other? Is it just a genetic thing, like Rainbows get it but Snake River Cutthroats do not? Is there any rhyme or reason to it? Do arctic char get it?
Reply by: Ewert Posted: 9/18/2019 7:36:16 AM Points: 30
Santiago - we're currently running lab experiments to answer those questions, but for our purposes in the field we're really just talking about rainbows and kokanee. I've never seen them on brookies. We also think that Snake River cutthroat either don't get them or get them in really low numbers, and I haven't heard a definitive word on cutbows. jig head - we picked up plenty of lakers, the population is doing just fine. There are definitely some skinny/starving ones, and overall they are in poorer body condition on average, but I was actually very surprised at the number of them that are in decent body condition. Honestly this break from stocking seems to be to have been good for the lake all around, aside from fishing for rainbows and kokanee. I'll have a report with much more detail over the winter.