Whirling Disease [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Whirling Disease

11-27-2000, 10:30 AM
Per the previous thread about White Pond a discussion about the introduction of Brown Trout and Whirling disease prompted me to find this:

<b>What can you do the help fight WD?</b>
<i> The obvious thing is to avoid becoming a transmission agent yourself. Waders should be thoroughly washed after fishing in WD-positive waters, to prevent spreading the parasite's spores on your next fishing trip. Also, do not transport live or dead fish from one river to another. Becoming involved in conservation organizations such as Trout Unlimited can open opportunities to action on a larger scale. One volunteer group in Colorado helped collect eggs from wild rainbows in the Colorado River, so they could be raised in a WD-free environment.</i>

More info at: <a href="http://www.xmission.com/~gastown/flyfishing/facts.html" target="_blank"><!--auto-->http://www.xmission.com/~gastown/flyfishing/facts.html</a><!--auto-->

11-27-2000, 03:39 PM
Great article Terry!

One anachronism and a slight error in the report - steelhead *are* rainbow trout, and WD has since been reported in eastern Washington state on the upper Columbia tributaries where native steelhead, salmon and trout are clinging to their existence.

Very informative though.

For the record - People once believed that angler's waders were not instrumental in the spread of WD. I argued vehemently that our waders were instruments of infection across regions. The spores reportedly survive up to 30 years in dried mud, it was a no-brainer to me. Still anglers refused to take actions to prevent spread by felt soles, etc.

I am proud to say I left my WA state wading boots out in Seattle when I moved in anticipation of my once-a-year visits. I have never cross-pollenated streams with my feet!

thanks for the link,


11-27-2000, 05:51 PM

If you are concerned about the possibility of contaminating a stream with your wading gear then I would suggest mixing 1 part bleach with 5 parts water and putting it into a windex bottle and spraying your boots and waders. That concentration is pretty much the standard mix. I would caution you though about spraying it on your breathable waders - I don't know if it would cause any problems.

I think more of a problem out west may come from boat trailers and birds. Backing the driftboat trailer into the water and then leaving with a bunch of mud caked to the frame probably would hold a higher potential for spreading the disease to a different drainage than waders or boots washed off with a hose. Birds eating infected fish and then defecating into another waterway also are suspected of spreading the problem. Another major threat are all the private ponds that receive hatchery fish. If these ponds receive fish that carry the disease and these fish escape through flood, emiigration, etc. then there is the potential for big problems.

Have a good night,


11-27-2000, 07:57 PM
As usual, another interesting topic. I agree with Labrax about cleaning your waders with a 1/5 bleach and water mix.
Interestingly enough countries like Norway require you to bring new waders if you travel from north america. When I travelled to Patagonia last year I bought a new pair of waders. No way I would take any of my neoprenes and nylon waders used in the northeast to those waters. Argentine and Chilean fly fishers are also quite aware of the existence of WD in North America and urge visitors to clean their waders and boots or bring new waders.

With regards to wild/native/hatchery trout I believe we should try to manage fisheries for wild and locally native fish, and leave the hatcheries for sterile places. Unfortunately the gene pool of the great species like steelhead and atlantic salmon are already quite diluted. Fish farms only belong "inland", which is the only sure way of avoiding escapees through floods or damage to containment nets.

One other aspect that remains contentious is what makes a native fish. We know that salmonids are not native to south america, for instance, however, they've thrived on their own for nearly 100 years now. Should the fact that they're not native be a good reason to eradicate them? I think not. Local fisheries have decided to protect other less glamorous but truly native species like the south american perch.

On the other hand, I do agree that introduction of atlantic salmon, brook trout and lake trout in waters out west risk the viability of wild native steelhead, cutthroat and perhaps golden trout and this type of action should be repelled vigorously.

I really enjoy this thread. Keep it going.

11-27-2000, 08:21 PM
Good points. Sadly though the Atlantic Salmon that escape from fish farms have already generated offspring in numerous places in the PNW (or so I read just today while nosing around the web).