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Old 05-06-2009, 11:25 AM   #1
Hondo
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Default Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

I've seen quite a few hatchery steelhead with fungus growing on them, particularly around their heads. (Town lake, Coffenbury, brooder trout in West Salish Pond)...I'm wondering if this happens when they spawn, like the salmon I've seen at the hatcheries, or if this fungus might be the result of stress?

Does anybody know the answer?

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Old 05-06-2009, 11:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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I've seen quite a few hatchery steelhead with fungus growing on them, particularly around their heads. (Town lake, Coffenbury, brooder trout in West Salish Pond)...I'm wondering if this happens when they spawn, like the salmon I've seen at the hatcheries, or if this fungus might be the result of stress?

Does anybody know the answer?
My guess would be that they are slowly rotting away
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

I too would like to know the answer to that one. I hooked into a winter steel on the Siuslaw River and when I got him in it looked like he had Ick on his head and spine. He was pretty dark so I think he was heading back to the ocean. I thought that only salmon got that stuff? I asked the pros at SteelheadUniversity.com but they didnt know.
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

The steelhead you are seeing are probably rotting faster because the water is warmer, and probably has less disolved oxygen! Steelhead start to get fungus, when they become kelts, but i realy do think that the water conditions in a lake, would further that process, much quicker!
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

Forgive the spelling but it is called IHN or immunehemminecrosis. It is a disease that has two forms. IHN1 and IHN2. this disease becomes far more devastating when the water warms. It is prevalent throughout the Columbia river system and can infect otherwise strong fish. they do not need to be kelts before this sets in. Dams on the tributaries have blocked IHN2 from getting into the upper Deschutes watershed. I is unclear what will happen with fish passage at round butte dam as any fish headed toward the Crooked River may pass the much more harmful IHN2 to the trout there. IHN1 is already in the upper systems.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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Forgive the spelling but it is called IHN or immunehemminecrosis. It is a disease that has two forms. IHN1 and IHN2. this disease becomes far more devastating when the water warms. It is prevalent throughout the Columbia river system and can infect otherwise strong fish. they do not need to be kelts before this sets in. Dams on the tributaries have blocked IHN2 from getting into the upper Deschutes watershed. I is unclear what will happen with fish passage at round butte dam as any fish headed toward the Crooked River may pass the much more harmful IHN2 to the trout there. IHN1 is already in the upper systems.

Thanks for the reply, flyin chrome...just curious, how would this infection get into steelhead that were hatchery raised and planted into lakes?
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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Forgive the spelling but it is called IHN or immunehemminecrosis. It is a disease that has two forms. IHN1 and IHN2. this disease becomes far more devastating when the water warms. It is prevalent throughout the Columbia river system and can infect otherwise strong fish. they do not need to be kelts before this sets in. Dams on the tributaries have blocked IHN2 from getting into the upper Deschutes watershed. I is unclear what will happen with fish passage at round butte dam as any fish headed toward the Crooked River may pass the much more harmful IHN2 to the trout there. IHN1 is already in the upper systems.

UMMMMM NO and NO.....A fungus can be caused by any number of bacterial infections.... Commonly reffered to as ICK or putrazine as I read it online... Fish that have been handled in a hatchery then transported to a lake will suffer high incidents of fungus because their precious slime has been removed (fish vertion of endoderm) and being that they are in spawning or post-spawning condition they have a run down immune system and are not likely able to regenerate the slime lost from handling.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

Uhhh... no right answer yet. Its actually the Saphrolegnia fungus that appears as a condition where much of the head or body of the fish is covered with a thick white layer often impairing vision and swimming ability.

- Brad
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

ok so if its ICK or Saphrolegnia fungus is it ok to keep and eat? Or does that mean that the fish isn't even smoker worthy? I tossed mine back not knowing what to do with it
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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Uhhh... no right answer yet. Its actually the Saphrolegnia fungus that appears as a condition where much of the head or body of the fish is covered with a thick white layer often impairing vision and swimming ability.

- Brad


(That's twice in a week, Brad)

Winter steelhead are going to die in those lakes...It's the natural fungal stage of a salmon/steelhead's late life stage...and no, not all steelhead survive, although some do. And yes, all salmon die.

Winter steelhead in a lake are in a pretty unnatural habitat. They were put there to be caught in the winter...now it's time to become fertilizer...

I don't eat fertilizer.
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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And yes, all salmon die.

.
Does that include Aantic Salmon too?
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

Not all Salmon die after spawning, some return to spawn again! I would of added the name to "steelhead bacteria" but didnt feel time to google something, then argue um wrong wrong wrong, bottom line is a fish with fungus is not edible!
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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Does that include Aantic Salmon too?
Well, taxonomy aside...Atlantic salmon are most closely related to summer steelhead (and brown trout, curiously enough) so no, not all of them die. However, like steelhead, a lot of them do after getting weak from spawning rigors and developing the fungal stages...the incidence of steelhead returning to spawn a second time is like less than five percent...a few make it three and perhaps even four times...

But all non-steelhead type true salmon species die after spawning...
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:47 PM   #14
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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Originally Posted by Uglygreen View Post
Uhhh... no right answer yet. Its actually the Saphrolegnia fungus that appears as a condition where much of the head or body of the fish is covered with a thick white layer often impairing vision and swimming ability.

- Brad

Yep, that's the one!! If you knock the slime off a fish or he bounces himself off a rock, that leaves a place for the bacteria to form.

IHN is a liver disease. ( infectioushemopoeticnecrosis???)
damn, too long since books! heeeeeeelp!

MOST salmon die after spawning. I want to say its a case of Cortisol shock. Gonna have to go back to the text books or one of our Bio readers is going to have to chime in. I remember a study from a Canadian university that showed a few spawned out salmon being caught by offshore troll fisheries.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

Its not IHN, and its not Ick...

I don;t have time to get into now, but these are untrue 100%...

I'll try to expand tomorrow...

Slime removal + fresh water = fungus... fungus spores are nearly always present in fresh water, they find places to take hold once protective slime has been damaged.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

Salmon and steelhead are extremely malnourished by the time they are done spawning. The stress of the trip, the spawning, the fighting, etc, all without eating, makes them very immunosuppressed. Thus, common, usually-benign fungi can cause severe infections in post-spawning anadromous fish. It's one reason why most steelhead die, despite the fact that they can be repeat spawners. As far as Pacific salmon always dying after spawning; my memory is telling me it's ultimately from lactic acidosis on top of the malnutrition, but I'm not totally sure.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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(That's twice in a week, Brad)

Winter steelhead are going to die in those lakes...It's the natural fungal stage of a salmon/steelhead's late life stage...and no, not all steelhead survive, although some do. And yes, all salmon die.

Winter steelhead in a lake are in a pretty unnatural habitat. They were put there to be caught in the winter...now it's time to become fertilizer...

I don't eat fertilizer.
Good point Bill,

So do they even bother to waste the expense to plant these things in the lakes anyways? Why not just leave them in the rivers? If someone wants to eat a spawner fine (much better instream than two months later in a lake)? If the fish dies in the stream as M Nature intended that could be good too? Don't see any benefits to trapping these fish and transporting to a lake?
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:10 PM   #18
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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So do they even bother to waste the expense to plant these things in the lakes anyways? Why not just leave them in the rivers? If someone wants to eat a spawner fine (much better instream than two months later in a lake)? If the fish dies in the stream as M Nature intended that could be good too? Don't see any benefits to trapping these fish and transporting to a lake?
I think it may be diff for bucks & hens... after they collect/spawn a hen, they can tag and "recycle" it downstream because they can evacuate all her eggs from the belly cavity to ensure she won't spawn in the wild (of course this is for hatchery-reared adults, not wild fish collected for hatchery broodstock). Bucks don't get recycled in-stream because they can't keep them from possibly trying to spawn again which is a no-no according to ODFW's management plan... but they could be released in a lake elsewhere.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:14 PM   #19
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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Good point Bill,

So do they even bother to waste the expense to plant these things in the lakes anyways? Why not just leave them in the rivers? If someone wants to eat a spawner fine (much better instream than two months later in a lake)? If the fish dies in the stream as M Nature intended that could be good too? Don't see any benefits to trapping these fish and transporting to a lake?

The state is trying to get the hatchery fish out of the river to keep them from interacting with the 'WILD" fish. they don't want to waste money trucking fish downriver to run the river again, hoping they will get caught. Just get em out of the river!!
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:02 AM   #20
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

They're actually pretty fun to catch in a winter fishery, especially caught by kids...
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:08 AM   #21
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

Oh, I'm sure they are. They dump Kalama fish in a local lake and the kids have a ball. It kind of spreads the pressure out too. Tha Kalama is a small river and any way to move a few people out of my way is good!
It's the state that wants to get them out of the river, not me. I wanna catch em and bonk em!!

Even though I want the interaction with the wild fish to be mitigated, I still miss having the hatchery fish in the upper river. The fly only section was packed with fish in the old days and a 20 fish day was not out of the question. If only the Wild fish would recover to the point that I would hope for!!

ahhhh the old days..............8wt, sink tip, 8lb leader, teeny nymph or shrimp pattern or green butt skunk, 20 fish visible in a tail out............

FISH ON and on and on and on.................
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:16 AM   #22
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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Even though I want the interaction with the wild fish to be mitigated, I still miss having the hatchery fish in the upper river. The fly only section was packed with fish in the old days and a 20 fish day was not out of the question. If only the Wild fish would recover to the point that I would hope for!!

ahhhh the old days..............8wt, sink tip, 8lb leader, teeny nymph or shrimp pattern or green butt skunk, 20 fish visible in a tail out............

FISH ON and on and on and on.................
I miss those days also, now I just walk down to the river up at my place and hope to see one summer run and that hasn't happened in a few years. Keep hoping the natives will return in decent numbers but no such luck yet. The mid 80's was fantastic fishing on the upper Kalama!! I guess that leaves more time to do chores on the property since there aren't an fish to distract me.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:27 AM   #23
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The mid 80's was fantastic fishing on the upper Kalama!!
It wasn't just the Kalama. Tons of hatchery plants plus good ocean conditions made for easy fishin' throughout the NW. Not sure it did the wild fish any good, though.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:44 AM   #24
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

I've caught several "excess" steelhead stocked in Kress Lake and Battleground Lake. My impression is that these are not spawned out fish which are then dumped by the hatchery into the lakes. These are EXCESS fish that returned to the hatchery and were not needed for spawning- so were taken to local lakes for anglers to catch.

95% of the ones I've caught and seen caught are in very good condition- wouldn't hesitate to eat one (if I liked fish- I don't) and certainly smoking would be just fine. After they've been in there "awhile", certainly they begin to deteriorate and ugly patches appear on their heads and fins. Wouldn't want to have one of those in the boat!

I'm just say'n- they are a hoot to catch in a lake-they pose well for big fish pics and since I can't catch a steelhead usually in a river- I appreciate the opportunity to hook into one that would have otherwise been wasted/ turned into dogfood.

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Old 05-07-2009, 07:55 AM   #25
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I've caught several "excess" steelhead stocked in Kress Lake and Battleground Lake. My impression is that these are not spawned out fish which are then dumped by the hatchery into the lakes. These are EXCESS fish that returned to the hatchery and were not needed for spawning- so were taken to local lakes for anglers to catch.

95% of the ones I've caught and seen caught are in very good condition- wouldn't hesitate to eat one (if I liked fish- I don't) and certainly smoking would be just fine. After they've been in there "awhile", certainly they begin to deteriorate and ugly patches appear on their heads and fins. Wouldn't want to have one of those in the boat!

I'm just say'n- they are a hoot to catch in a lake-they pose well for big fish pics and since I can't catch a steelhead usually in a river- I appreciate the opportunity to hook into one that would have otherwise been wasted/ turned into dogfood.

Jim


Most of those fish (steelhead) that are dumped into Kress lake are fish that are coming from the Cowlitz. Since Tacoma Power won't pay to recycle fish anymore, WDFW has now decided to dump these fish into places such as Kress or give them to the food banks. What bothers a lot of people here is that those fish are mitigated fish that were part of Tacoma's license mitigation responsibilities. Those fish were supposed to mitigate for lost fishing opportunities in the Cowlitz and not in some out of basin lake fishery such as Kress. WDFW is so screwed up these days, especially since they bought into Tacoma's settlement Agreement on the Cowlitz.

It make no sense to kill a sport fish for the damn food banks when that same sport fish can bring back hundreds of dollars back into the local economy!
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:58 AM   #26
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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They're actually pretty fun to catch in a winter fishery, especially caught by kids...
Yep, nothing like a trout rod and a 10 pound Steelie! They stock them in Vernonia Lake and people complain about it. People don't like seeing the rotting fish I guess, but they probably don't get to see the people that hook into these fish. Also with the resident Bald Eagles and Osprey, this may give them some winter time forage and everybody likes to see the birds.
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:00 AM   #27
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

You may see Saphrolegnia for a number of reasons. Any abbrasion or damage to the slime layer (which for all intensive purposes is the only protection fish have to keep pathogens out) can become infected. When fish have put most of there energy and reserves into spawning it can also weaken there defense. Warmer water temperatures can increase the rate at which it worsens. You may see more predominantly in males due to how they compete with each other (fighting). Hatchery fish may get it from being handled durring sorting or spawning. Unless the fish is truly rotting it will not affect the flesh due to the fact that Saphrolegnia is primarily external. Before it appears as a white, fluffy fungus the slime layer will look blotchy, or slightly discollored (modled patches). It can also spread faster when a lot of fish are holding in a smaller area (high density).

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Old 05-07-2009, 09:28 AM   #28
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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I've caught several "excess" steelhead stocked in Kress Lake and Battleground Lake. My impression is that these are not spawned out fish which are then dumped by the hatchery into the lakes. These are EXCESS fish that returned to the hatchery and were not needed for spawning- so were taken to local lakes for anglers to catch.

95% of the ones I've caught and seen caught are in very good condition- wouldn't hesitate to eat one (if I liked fish- I don't) and certainly smoking would be just fine. After they've been in there "awhile", certainly they begin to deteriorate and ugly patches appear on their heads and fins. Wouldn't want to have one of those in the boat!

I'm just say'n- they are a hoot to catch in a lake-they pose well for big fish pics and since I can't catch a steelhead usually in a river- I appreciate the opportunity to hook into one that would have otherwise been wasted/ turned into dogfood.

Jim

Nope, they are not "spawned out". They are as you said, "excess" fish , not needed for egg take purposes.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:08 PM   #29
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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Uhhh... no right answer yet. Its actually the Saphrolegnia fungus that appears as a condition where much of the head or body of the fish is covered with a thick white layer often impairing vision and swimming ability.

- Brad

So, just for clarity... the "fungus" is actually in the genus Saprolegnia (no "ph"), commonly referred to as the water molds (or Oomycetes). And actually, the water molds are not true fungi (ie, do not belong to the kingdom Fungi) but rather share common ancestry with the Protists. The hyphal (thread-like) growth of Saprolegnia and the rest of the Oomycetes represents a separate evolutionary origin from the true Fungi (convergent evolution! yesss!!).

If you are really curious there seems to be good info at the website below (not my info, I asked the google).

http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/classes/...aprolegnia.htm

As far as natural defenses of fish to infection by Saprolegnia, the following quote was taken from the link above.

Quote:
Willoughby (1989) determined that fish have 3 types of defenses against Saprolegnia. First, the physical removal of attached spores by the renewal of mucous. Second, a morphogen in the mucous inhibited the growth of mycelium but not killing it. And third, a cellular response in the mucous is directed at growing mycelium. Therefore, the mucous acts as a primary physical barrier (Bruno and Wood, 1999; Pickering, 1994), by continuous replenishment of the mucous layer (Pickering and Willoughby, 1982), although not for complete, i.e., 100%, removal of fungal spores (Murphy, 1981; Willoughby and Pickering, 1977). However, a fish having an intact epidermis is probably the best defense against saprolegniasis (Hatai and Hoshiai, 1994; Pickering, 1994).
Way more than you ever wanted to know, huh?

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Old 05-07-2009, 01:37 PM   #30
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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My guess would be that they are slowly rotting away
Yeah, I don't think they do well in that environment.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:05 PM   #31
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

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If you are really curious there seems to be good info at the website below (not my info, I asked the google).

http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/classes/...aprolegnia.htm
That's a good summary. Here's another good paragraph dealing with why they get it.

In salmonids, the physiological state of the fish generally determines if a fungal infection will be successfully established (Neish, 1977; Snieszko, 1974; and others). Saprolegnia generally invades fish that have been stressed or otherwise have a weakened immune systems (Bruno and Wood, 1999; Pickering, 1994). Since fungus is almost always present in freshwater, it is assumed that some change in the fish occurs which allows a Saprolegnia infection to take hold (Bruno and Wood, 1999). Neish (1991) suggests that immunosupression provides a mechanism that causes the transformation of normally non-pathogenic organisms, including Saprolegnia, to become pathogenic.
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:08 AM   #32
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowlitzfisherman View Post
Most of those fish (steelhead) that are dumped into Kress lake are fish that are coming from the Cowlitz. Since Tacoma Power won't pay to recycle fish anymore, WDFW has now decided to dump these fish into places such as Kress or give them to the food banks. What bothers a lot of people here is that those fish are mitigated fish that were part of Tacoma's license mitigation responsibilities. Those fish were supposed to mitigate for lost fishing opportunities in the Cowlitz and not in some out of basin lake fishery such as Kress. WDFW is so screwed up these days, especially since they bought into Tacoma's settlement Agreement on the Cowlitz.

It make no sense to kill a sport fish for the damn food banks when that same sport fish can bring back hundreds of dollars back into the local economy!
Yeah, you're right- while I enjoy catching them, I agree- it ain't right.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:35 AM   #33
Hondo
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Default Re: Fungus on hatchery steelies in lakes...

Thanks for all the info. and an interesting discussion. Very informative.
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