March 4, 2018 at 9:54 pm #7916
For once, an article in the paper worth reading besides the comics.
It’s an article about a new genetic rainbow that can resist whirling disease. And if you catch one, you’ll know it from the missing left pelvic fin.
Rainbow trout are nonnative fish, introduced during Colorado’s 19th century mining boom for food & fun. They became popular because fishermen find them to be dynamic and relatively easy to catch.
But rainbows were hit so hard by whirling disease that they can no longer reproduce on their own.
The fin snipping will help allow tracking when the CPW release them into the Arkansas this spring. It’s the latest step as CPW runs with a scientific breakthrough that could lead to the defeat of whirling disease. Like the rainbow trout, the disease is imported. A parasite hitched a ride from Europe to Pennsylvania in 1958 on a frozen fillet and has been attacking the soft cartilage of fingerlings ever since, causing them to grow into deformed c-shaped fingerlings. So they swim in circles and die of starvation or exhaustion.
Whirling disease decimated fisheries in CO. and the West, leaving rainbow trout in need of life suport. Colorado spends $3.8 million a year to stock 2,800 lakes and reservoirs & 9,500 miles of streams with 5.8 million rainbows.
Now this new breed could make a comeback.
Four years ago, a researcher investigating rainbow genetics spotted an isolated group at the bottom of a rocky chasm in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, rainbows that seemed able to withstand whirling disease. State biologists confirmed the immunity and began a genetic analysis.
Focusing so much on saving a nonnative fish has appeared, in the eyes of some purists, disproportionate. Crossbreeding, perceived as genetic engineering, raises concerns about manipulating natural processes.
All I know is, in the White River, they have a species of rainbow that has been able to withstand whirling disease, and they are beautiful, and hard fighters. But does that make it right? I believe God made things the way they were meant to be, and if something like whirling disease wipes out a species, then maybe it was meant to be. But at the same time, I’m glad to see the biologists doing something to save this fish, even though the genetics have been changed. Heck, just look at the fruits at your local grocery store, and you can see all the genetically altered fruits man has made. But people buy & eat them.March 5, 2018 at 9:53 am #7917
How did it get from a frozen fillet into our waters?
I thought they were already stocking the Arkansas for the last few years with the Hofer rainbows?March 5, 2018 at 11:05 am #7920
That’s something I asked myself because the article doesn’t say. And I’m with you creek on the Hofer rainbows as well. I thought that was the biggest reason for the Ark. making a huge comeback years ago.
All I know is my wife brought home the article in the Longmont Times Call news paper, and I pretty much copied it on here to share.March 5, 2018 at 11:10 am #7922
Yeah, how could a frozen fish fillet spread the little tubifex worm and WD spores? Weird.
IMO, you have a point about rainbows being an invasive species. But any damage they’ve wrought has been pretty much long done. And looking forward, WD resistant rainbows are OK by me. I like rainbows. As long as they’re never stocked where they can further impact native species of course.
I helped NY state biologists shock some Lake Erie tributary creeks many years ago, as part of a study to determine how long lake-run rainbows had been naturally reproducing there (as it turned out, DNA tests showed it was decades before the state began stocking them in the early 70’s.) We found several small creeks held WD-resistant rainbows, both resident (McCloud River CA ancestry) and lake-run (Washington State steelhead origin) strains. The working theory was they’d been around so long they’d managed to develop this resistance naturally over many, many generations – survival of the fittest. It was a hopeful sign that rainbows could come back from the WD crisis.
Then the primary biologist running the show retired, and his colleagues soon transferred to other fields. The conspiracy nut in me believed the state wanted to bury the results, as naturally reproducing populations and the regulations necessary to keep that population healthy (barbless artificials, no-kill, closing off nursery creeks, etc) didn’t fit with top management’s preconceptions (fishermen only want to take home limits and dumping lots of hatchery fish is the way to keep people happy and buying licenses)March 6, 2018 at 9:08 am #7926
Do Hofer Rainbows reproduce naturally?
Because if they don’t, this could be something new. I re-read the article and I should have mentioned this in the beginning, but there is a quote in the article that says, “we are trying to re-create a naturally reproducing, self-sustaining rainbow trout population,” CPW aquatic biologist Mike Atwood said as he supervised the Trout Unlimited volunteers at the hatchery west of Salida.
So if the Hofer strain in not self-reproducing, this could be a new species.
I found it funny that the word Hofer wasn’t mentioned in the article since creek brought up that the Ark. was already being stocked with them.
As for the frozen fillet, WRONG! I looked it up this morning and found that it is more likely to have been brought to this country by transporting live fish to this country. Bruce, the author of this article must have mis-understood what was said.March 6, 2018 at 9:32 am #7927
If the Hofer’s don’t reproduce it seems like a losing battle. The Arkansas has always been mainly a brown trout river. It was 80% brown when the original rainbows were thriving. Rainbows make good brown trout food.
Just make the river 100% brown trout. I prefer to catch browns over rainbows. We call rainbows slimers around here. Smell your hands after handling a rainbow and then do the same with browns. The rainbow will leave a strong fishy smell that hard to wash off. The brown will leave no smell.
Rainbows always need to be stocked. Browns never are. Browns are now completely naturally born and have been for 100years. Browns are much more spooky and harder to catch.
I’d rather catch one brown instead of 20 rainbows. Rainbows are great for bait fisherman.
The way I understand it. They feel the same way in the UK.March 6, 2018 at 11:11 am #7928
Creek, I share your low opinion of hatchery rainbow trout – a miserable, pathetic excuse for a fish. And you’re 100% correct – if this program’s goal isn’t to develop a naturally reproducing strain of rainbow, why bother? Continually stocking hatchery fish in any river system that supports wild browns is futile and a waste of money.March 6, 2018 at 7:56 pm #7929
You both are forgetting the big reason why they stock rainbows. They stock hatchery rainbows to bring in tourists who bring the state money. They also stock rainbows because there are those who do the week long family camping trip once a year and expect to catch rainbows all day. Guides make clients happy catching the easy to catch rainbows on a nymph. Could be rainbows are cheaper to maintain in hatcheries than brown trout. When people think of fishing in Colorado, they picture rainbow trout in their minds, so that helps to feed the tourist thing.
And the #1 reason they stock rainbows; brown trout need to eat too. 😀
I don’t mind catching a rainbow because it’s still a fish. And like I have said in the past, when I catch a fish, that means I’m doing something right. But, I would much rather catch a wild rainbow than a stocker any day. The wild rainbows up on the Poudre are very beautiful, and they can get to a decent size to give a good tug on your line. But at the same time, the browns are so much better.
The days I just want to get out and actually catch fish, and lots of them and make it a no brainer of a day, brookies are on the menu.March 6, 2018 at 8:38 pm #7930
I think stocking should be used only in locations that can’t support wild trout. Which tend to be the ones tourists flock to and guys like us avoid.March 6, 2018 at 10:47 pm #7931
I hate to say it like this GRS, but to your comment, DILLY DILLY! I thought I’d never say that, and I hope I never do again, LOL. Who the heck came up with that anyway?
Yes, I think you’re absolutely correct on that. If a place reproduces itself naturally and holds steady with a strong fish population year after year, it should be left alone.
I do believe the CPW should stock areas that the human population goes like reservoir’s and popular camping areas.
Let the wild areas stay wild.March 7, 2018 at 9:23 am #7932March 7, 2018 at 11:04 am #7933
So that’s where it came from? All I know it’s what some people here at work say when they agree with someone/thing, or something good happens. It’s like saying, “hear hear”! or “cheers”. Something of that nature.
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