Post By: Trotline Posted: 12/10/2019 3:52:37 PMPoints: 887
Blue Mesa may be starting a new program to help with reducing smaller laketrout. Starting Feb. 1st thru July 31st you can receive a cash reward for catching tagged fish, selected thru a raffle or catch the most laker under 24 inches. A few details need worked out yet. I will probably be there around five or six days in Feb.
I want to point out a couple of things. Why even bother offering money for a lost cause at this point? Below is what CPW posted on the website in November of 2018.
“”” Gill lice were first reported in Colorado in the early 1900’s. Until relatively recently, the negative effects associated with gill lice on fish were limited to infestations in hatcheries, though the presence of gill lice in some Colorado water bodies outside of hatcheries was known. However, more recently, anecdotal evidence has linked declines in fish populations with the occurrence of gill lice, and it is important to understand these more recent observations. Specifically, kokanee salmon populations in many lakes throughout the west have completely collapsed after becoming infected with gill lice. “””
The likely hood of Blue Mesa Kokanee collapsing is high based on the infection rates I saw on Kokanee and rainbows this summer. Other lakes where infection is running high like Clear Creek Reservoir, William Fork, Gross Reservoir, or Green Mountain they have reduced or stop stocking Kokanee to slow down the infection rate. It was 2006 or 2008 when gill lice was first identified in a handful of big Colorado lakes(12-13 years ago) and no action has been taken because of the following that is also posted by CPW.
“”” In Colorado, gill lice, a parasitic copepod (group of small crustaceans), can infect cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon and rainbow trout, which are ecologically and economically important fish species in Colorado. “””
Until CPW comes up with a solution to the gill lice problem CPW are fighting a losing battle against the lake trout and throwing money into the wind.
Suggestion: Try on the smaller water bodies that are infected with gill lice (Clear Creek Reservoir) and see if CPW can rid the lake of gill lice. Depending on what is done this could be a 1-10 year project.
Understand I love fishing for Kokanee and lake trout. It just sucks some kind of action isn’t being taken to solve the gill lice issue. Killing all the small lake trout isn’t going to solve the gill lice issue and might just make it worse because greater numbers of Kokanee schooling together.
Please understand I would like to be part of the solution and not the problem. I would volunteer my free time to help reduce costs to the CPW when they have a proposed solution to fix the gill lice problem.
I believe other Kokanee and lake trout fisherman would do the same to get this issue resolved and behind us. This would create healthier kokanee populations and bigger lake trout in the long run. Getting this issue resolved would benefit both groups along with the rainbow trout fishermen.
There is no solution to Gill lice other than not stocking Kokanee for multiple years to try to remove the carriers. When fish get stressed out they are susceptible. Several years ago they had low, warm water and a big die off of Kokanee, the remainder were stressed resulting in the current gill lice situation. Gill lice has already destroyed multiple Kokanee fisheries..
Political Blame Game. What's obvious is it doesn't make sense to spend money netting Lake Trout that aren't the problem to suposedly save a diseased specie. Now they want the anglers to do their dirty work while they continue to blame the lake trout for the Kokanee's problems.
Redleader: It is more than just not stocking Kokanee. Rainbow trout, brook trout, and Kokanee are all carriers of gill lice. You have to stop stocking/kill off all the carriers for a handful of years to get rid of if. There are other ways to rid the waters of gill lice, but I do not think they are acceptable solutions at this point in time. I put my trust in the CPW biologists to figure out and come up with a solution most anglers can live with.
That is what makes this a hard situation for the CPW is that any proposed solution is not 100% fail proof or cheap. In a small indoor fish tank or a backyard pond it is easy to get rid of gill lice, but it gets a lot more complex/difficult in a lake or reservoir with feeder streams.
Another fact is a lot of Colorado fishermen only fish for rainbow trout which any non stocking of rainbow trout would cause an uproar. That scares CPW a lot with yearly increases in costs of salaries, maintenance, hatcheries, and stocking fees.
Finally there might not be a viable solution to save Blue Mesa reservoir Kokanee just because the lake covers such a large area. But that doesn’t mean that smaller lakes or reservoirs in Colorado could not be cleaned of gill lice.
Reply by: redleader Posted: 12/13/2019 12:07:04 AM Points: 557
Gill lice are natural in the environment, when fish get stressed out they are susceptible. You can go up to Rocky Mountain park at 10,000' and find gill lice. Whats tiring is the Dpw's solution to any issues with Kokanee is to blame the lake trout. No mention of gill lice in their article. [log in for link]
Reply by: KayakerFishfinder Posted: 12/13/2019 12:17:44 AM Points: 15776
I used to raise fish and when I put too many fish in to small tank with poor water quality they would develop disease or gill lice. That is mother nature’s way of taking care of over population. And your right stress is a big factor in their health.
The CPW has acknowledged that the likely cause has come from the hatcheries. They try to produce the maximum number of fish in the smallest area with causes stress.
Regardless of where the problem has come from what is the solution to fix it.
Reply by: bernie Posted: 12/13/2019 6:24:21 AM Points: 473
The gill lice problem will only get worse. I wrote this article a while back, now might be a good time to repost it. A biologist for the CPW mentioned to me the letters we all wrote encouraged them to take look at the issues. Now the "Fish health board" took it over and will likely do nothing about gill lice. Here is the link to my article. Please send them a letter asking them to make gill lice illegal to transport. [log in for link]
Reply by: malty falcon Posted: 12/13/2019 9:52:23 AM Points: 6756
Kayakfishfinder, others, The gill lic e problem is just another vector affecting the Kokanee. Lake trout ALSO have a big impact on Kokanee. In bad years, we you can blame everything for declining Kokanee counts.
No matter what anyone’s favorite fish is, Blue Mesa is managed for production of Kokanee. The CPW is gonna do everything they can to help Blue Mesa grow lots of salmon for stocking into MANY other reservoirs.
Gill lice affect many species, as you pointed out, but are particularly problematic for kokanee. Since you and I cannot directly affect their reproduction, we should focus on the problems we CAN solve, like Kokanee predation by mackinaw. But If you don’t want to target mackinaw, just don’t. There is no Mandatory kill for them, either.
I get it that some people want to blame the perch for rising mackinaw populations, that’s cool, but survey data says big lakers eat a LOT of Kokaneee, as well. I personally kill every perch I catch at Blue, but once again, it’s not mandatory. Let’s all agree to try and make Blue Mesa a great fishery for everyone!
Bernie, Thanks for the info. I just copied and pasted the e-mail addresses and wrote all the "Fish Health" Board's member an email on whyb they should "outlaw" gill lice like they did for Whirling Disease.
If allegedly Private Hatcheries can stack the deck against the CPW to pay for consideration, well, that's as corrupt as senators and congressmen becoming lobbyists to promote raping the environment for personal profit over public welfare. I'm not really political, but self-serving double-dealing makes my blood boil!
CPW should serve me-, not private interests with their personal gains.
Reply by: blackdog1 Posted: 12/14/2019 8:27:41 AM Points: 3
what I have heard from the lake Bio is that the gill lice came down the Lake fork from private waters stockings of rainbows. The bottom line is that they are now infesting the kokanee in Blue, this fall the fish were loaded with them. If you look at the information from the Roaring Judy hatchery you will see a very rapid increase in the number of gill lice in the salmon spawning. So far it is not a total colipase like seen at 11 mile. So far the CPW has not found a solution to the Gill Lice problem and they may not ever be able to fix this issue. I'm old enough to remember when Granby was the top lake trout and kokanee fishery in the State, things change, especially when your playing god in these man made reservoirs. I'm sure the Bios are looking at other waters to replace Blue Mesa for kokanee eggs if needed. Back to the Lake trout, really doesn't matter anymore, the CPW has killed off enough of the Lake trout in Blue MEsa to make it a non issue, without kokanee in the future the Lake trout future is not bright. May as well give the guys who want to catch small lakers a little cash. I keep hoping for the perch fishing to exploded, it should happen at some point, plenty of food for them.
Reply by: redleader Posted: 12/14/2019 9:40:15 AM Points: 557
We proposed a program like this 15 or so years ago if they would stop the net killing program. Hopefully the full circle ultimate Karma they are dealing with has finally taught them to work with the Anglers rather than against.
Reply by: Fishneveryweek Posted: 12/14/2019 11:42:47 AM Points: 36
Apparently, the lakers, browns, and perch are unaffected by the lice. Just let the kokanee and rainbows die out, and those three species would make for a good fishery that is self- sustaining. As usual, when CPW does the least, the best things happen. The more fish killing and messing with the system, the worse the fishery. We certainly have many examples of this on the Western Slope.
The biggest problem I see is with the rainbow fisheries in other lakes and streams. I have noticed and commented here on this site about how I have seen those fisheries deteriorate rapidly in the last ten to fifteen years. From that map above, it looks like the lice are just about everywhere. CPW should focus on that as top priority, given the huge impact to this state. Leave the poor lakers alone. They are a valuable asset. I would say the same for pike and smallmouth.