Whirling Disease in the Green River

A recent discovery here on the Green River has some anglers concerned, biologists found whirling disease in the water. But it looks like the concern isn’t necessarily here on the green, but other fisheries nearby.

Matt McKell, a DWR Aquatics Biologist said, “It was just a matter of time before whirling disease showed up in the Green River. It’s been detected in the tributaries years ago to Flaming Gorge and we knew even during the years that eventually it would show up in the Green River fish.

DWR pathologists and biologists confirmed their suspicions this September when they discovered the parasite that causes whirling disease in four rainbows collected below the dam at Little hole, however specialists don’t expect the parasite to affect fish populations on the Green.

McKell said “We primarily manage the Green as a brown trout fishery and the brown trout have shown to be more resistant than rainbow trout for instance; we do stock rainbows in the green but they are stocked at a size that they should be less susceptible than smaller fish.”

So, how will this parasite affect us as fisherman? Well we all need to avoid spreading any disease or invasive species to other waters.

Brett Prettyman an Outdoors writer said, “The real concern is what happens when you leave here and where are you going to go next. Are you going to go to spirit lake, deep into the Unitas and are you going to carry whirling disease into the Unitas.”

Here are some precautions you can take.

Dave Kumlien, a Director of Trout Unlimited invasive species programs stated, “Here on the green they’ve got washing stations where you can wash your gear off when you are leaving and I think that’s a reasonable thing to do. I myself and what we are doing at Trout Unlimited is we are trying to promote the inspect, clean, and dry approach.”

Kumlien went on to say, “these aquatic nuisance species they don’t like to be dried. So if you can dry your stuff out, you are going to get most of it.”

Kumlien also said, “It’s all about risk management, so whatever you can do, inspect, clean and dry your gear, if you want to use a chemical solution, that’s fine. I have some trepidation about using chemical in proximity to bodies of water, especially bleach, which the division here recommends against, but the 409, that stuff will work”

Adam Eakle said “it’s going to take all of us doing our part to make sure we keep the mud snails and the whirling disease at bay.”

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