Image courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife
An up-close look at gill lice on a trout.
Gill lice have made an appearance in Pennsylvania.
The parasite – which attaches to the gills of brook trout – was discovered recently in Wolfe Run in Centre County. A subsequent investigation found evidence of them in nine other waters, too.
All had been stocked by the same cooperative nursery, said Brian Wisner, director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s bureau of hatcheries.
The commission euthanized all of the brookies the nursery had left and replaced them with rainbow trout, which seem resistant to the bugs.
What will become of those streams in the future is harder to say, though, apparently.
Jason Detar, chief of the commission’s division of fisheries management, said there’s been limited research done on gill lice. What is known, he said, is that they’re resistant to chemical treatments and hard to control.
“We’re concerned about this,” he added.
The parasites attach to the gills of individual fish, impacting their ability to process oxygen and causing stress. Some Wisconsin research suggests they show up most often in dry summers in warm water, and can impact survival of young of the year fish, thereby hurting populations, he added.
No one can say what the long-term implications of their presence might mean, though, he added.
Commissioner Bill Sabatose of Elk County said fish with the lice pose no threat to people, however.
“They are safe for human consumption. That’s a fact,” Sabatose said.
Ruffed grouse absolutely have to have it. Snowshoe hares do, too. And white-tailed deer, of course, do best in it.
So the Pennsylvania Game Commission wants to create more of it. The agency is launching what it calls a “young forest initiative,” with a goal of creating 100,000 acres of it over the next five years.
Pete Sussenbach, chief of the bureau of wildlife habitat management, said the plan will be to use timbering operations and controlled burns to create young forests.
He admits the acreage total is “rather ambitious,” especially given that some food and cover crews working on game lands include just a handful of people. That could slow things down, he said.
But if a license fee increase goes through — something that’s not looking very likely right now — and the commission is able to fill some empty spots, the work can get done, he said.
The Yough Walleye Association held its annual tournament on Oct. 16 on Pittsburgh’s river, launching from the Southside Boat Launch.
According to a spokesman, “the weather and fish co-operated as numerous boats brought in their six-fish limit.” Anglers got both walleyes and saugers from the Allegheny and Ohio rivers.
First place was won by Ian Cerpani of West Mifflin, who weighed in 9.36 pounds. Second place went to Richard Fike of Farmington with 8.76 pounds and third to Bryan Riegerof Belle Vernon with 8.35 pounds. Reiger also caught the tournament lunker, a 3.74-pound walleye.
Farmed versus wild
An attempt by Missouri Department of Conservation officials to ban movement of farm-raised deer was recently struck down.
State wildlife officials tried to ban the importation of live deer into that state by deer farmers in an effort to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease. The regulation would have also required deer farmers to comply with new fencing rules.
A Missouri Associate Court judge ruled the regulation overstepped its bounds and was not based on enough hard data.
The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation has been working to remove graffiti from state park and forests sites. That work will continue.
The group recently earned a “Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful” grant to support efforts at a minimum of three additional sites
Previously, work was done at Hammonds Rocks in Michaux State Forest and Coves Rocks in Forbes State Forest. Among the planned projects for the future are one at Beams Rocks in the Forbes.
Landowners in West Virginia can post their property against trespassing the traditional way, with signs.
Or, they can just use purple paint.
State wildlife officials there are reminding people that a law passed by the legislature this summer says posting counts when landowners put a purple mark at least 8 inches by 2 inches on trees or other “immovable objects” around their property.