Argulus - the fish louse.

BobP

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This little bug can and has caused some major fish mortalities from time to time and has even caused some trout fisheries to close their doors and go out of business. Until now there has been no real cure to the problem when it gets out of hand as it does from time to time.

Now the National Fisheries Laboratory at Brampton has come up with something that is so simple it is almost silly apart from the fact that it seems to work. Argulus likes to lay its egg sacs on something hard, so the idea is to give it something hard to lay its eggs on.

In this case the plan was to knock round wooden posts into the lake margins with the top of the post just above water level. Drill a hole clean through the post. Get lengths of black plastic pipes and slide them down over the post and secure them. Best way seems to be to drill a corresponding hole in each end of the pipe and put a peg into the hole to stop it moving. Leave the pipe in situ for up to three weeks then lift it. It can then be secured by means of the peg in the hole at the bottom end and left to dry out. In warm weather this takes very little time. If you had say twenty posts in a lake and lifted them all in turn, by the time you got round from 1-20 you could drop the pipes back into the water again.

By this means literally millions of Argulus can be prevented from entering the fishery. There have been trials at four fisheries already with great successes recorded. One of those fisheries was in my old area and I remember them suffering from this problem which affected their trout.

If people want to know more about this contact Chris Williams at the National Fisheries Laboratory at Brampton and they have a fact sheet explaining all about it. If a club is struggling the EA will supply posts and pipework to help get on top of this pest.

I took my son in law and grandson there for a visit today as he is interested in things aquatic and was staggered at the advances in fisheries science that have taken place since I retired only 7 years ago. Your rod licence money working hard for your benefit.
 
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Rob Edmunds

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Very interesting......I wonder if Anglian water will take on board scientific research ???


I'm not convinced they will but will be passing on contact details and the results of the survey because this IS a massive problem at Rutland.

Besides cost is minimal so what is to loose? ?
 

BobP

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Rob,

I rather suspect that cost would be a bit of an issue on a water the size of Rutland. How about putting in a post and pipe every 20 metres around the perimeter of Rutland? A small stillwater is a different ballgame to a 3000 acre reservoir.

Actually it wasn't a result of scientific research. A carp farmer had put the stakes in around one of his ponds & then when he drained it to harvest the fish for sale noticed a huge number of Argulus, many of which had laid eggs on the posts. From there the idea of having moveable spawning medium for the Argulus arose. Simple and quite brilliant.
 

bibio1st

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A local fishery near me had a problem a couple of years back, what they did and still do is put some rectangular boards 5ft x 3ft approx with a dark underside around the lake between pegs, take them out regularly and clean off, it really has helped.

Steve
 

jack58

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We do this at my small 3 acre fishery. However, instead of raising the pipes to expose them to the sunlight we simply remove the pipe and replace with a clean one. The infested one is simply left on the bank to dry, then cleaned with a wire brush.
Early days but very encouraged with the results, and at least we feel we are doing something!
 

sailingval

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We have been doing this 'experiment' at our 22 acre still water lake and believe we have removed at least 1 million eggs. Working with the EA. Will continue it next year as well. we have also removed adult roach as they seem to 'encourage' the argulus, We have used the same approach as jack58 and replace the pipes every two weeks on a rotation basis. Pipes need to be near the edge and clear of reeds for it to work. Needs time every two weeks but it is fasinating.
 

BobP

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We do this at my small 3 acre fishery. However, instead of raising the pipes to expose them to the sunlight we simply remove the pipe and replace with a clean one. The infested one is simply left on the bank to dry, then cleaned with a wire brush.
Early days but very encouraged with the results, and at least we feel we are doing something!
Whichever way round you do it doesn't matter much. Chris Williams showed us some photos of a plastic tube lifted after one week and there were scores of egg clusters on it; the next photo was after two weeks and there were hundreds of egg clusters, and the final photo was after three weeks and it was difficult to even see the black plastic there were so many clusters. Tens of thousands at a conservative guess.

I am pleased to see at least some clubs etc are taking steps to deal with this problems but I must admit to being a little disappointed at the lack of interest. You argue relentlessly over the price of a fishing rod but show virtually no interest in something that may very well prevent you from using it.
 

mackiia1

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I must tell this to the officers of a fishery where I sometimes fish - there is a an ongoing lice/louse problem on one of their lakes.
I'm not sure if it's the type you mention but it's worth checking out.
 

sailingval

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I have a dvd we have made of our project, if anyone wants a copy let me know. Started removing eggs today and there were plenty of them.
 

jimt

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The EA asked to trial the post and black drain pipe system on our 26 acre trout lake. They set up the system of posts and away we went. This was 3 years ago and there is evidence that it is having effect.
The posts are checked once a week. This is were the black pipe is changed for a clean one. The eggs are counted and recorded for each post. Then the pipes are left in the sun to destroy the eggs.
At first millions of eggs were counted on each post. But in the last year the numbers are greatly reduced. Also no fish are being caught with Argulus on them.
 

BobP

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The EA asked to trial the post and black drain pipe system on our 26 acre trout lake. They set up the system of posts and away we went. This was 3 years ago and there is evidence that it is having effect.
The posts are checked once a week. This is were the black pipe is changed for a clean one. The eggs are counted and recorded for each post. Then the pipes are left in the sun to destroy the eggs.
At first millions of eggs were counted on each post. But in the last year the numbers are greatly reduced. Also no fish are being caught with Argulus on them.
It's working then. Keep it going is the best advice. As soon as you stop the Argulus will bloom and in no time you are back to square one. You've done a good job, but the little b*gger is endemic so won't go away. It might be possible to reduce the removals to every two weeks, but talk to Brampton first.
 

sailingval

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We remove every two weeks and that seems to work. 3 weeks is too long and some start to hatch.
 

BobP

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Very good. Your club certainly seems to have taken on board the lessons.

There is a temptation in any control of a pest species to think that when the rate of capture has declined, and in your case that would be when fish are being caught that are almost clear of Argulus, that the job is done. Unfortunately it is not. Once embarked upon a control measure it must be continued relentlessly. Argulus are always present, and you will always catch fish carrying one or two and this not a problem. Take your foot off the pedal and that one or two rapidly becomes dozens, but by the sound of things you have already worked that out.

It remains to be seen if other clubs etc take heed.
 

spudgun

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This is a really interesting thread, like they say "every days a school day". And what an easy way to control fish louse.
I'm in the position to help a landowner stock a 1.5 acre lake, now I've suggested that we stock with brown trout, they live longer, and hopefully won't jump to much, drawing attention to themselves. Plenty of pikeys in this area and if they get a whiff then that's it.
My question to you fine people, are brown trout more susceptible to fish louse?, more so than rainbows. A syndicate member suggests rainbows rather than brown.
But it's good to know that we can tackle the louse.
Cheers

Sent from my FIG-LX1 using Tapatalk
 

BobP

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Apparently they are not. As native fish they seem to have a resistance that the rainbows lack. They will, of course, pick up one or two, but don't seem to get infested to the stage where they will die.
 
G

guest54

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Can I ask, is this a recent phenomenon due to waters having a high stocking rate?.
To my knowledge I have never caught a fish with a louse attached, gill maggots yes, leeches yes, fungus certainly but never a louse.
Interesting thread. :thumbs:
 

BobP

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During my career with the EA I came across several mortalities associated with Argulus. Perch was one species which surprised me due to its tough skin and hard scales; pike which didn't surprise me due to its sedentary lifestyle; common bream also didn't surprise me much due to its shoaling habit which makes Argulus transfer from one fish to another relatively easy.

Rainbow trout did surprise me due to their more active lifestyle but a scientist studying the effects of Argulus told me that the rainbows are more susceptible because they don't have the same level of immunity built up over hundreds if not thousands of years.

There is little doubt that the presence of large numbers of potential hosts makes it easier for Argulus to snowball, but those potential hosts can be any of the usual species as well as trout.
 

sailingval

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We have also removed adult roach and spawn to assist the argulus problem. all with EA approval and health checks etc. Local course lake has been very happy to receive adult roach. Will see if that helps.
 

Tommy Ruffe

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I'm digressing a little but. Last week I caught a rainbow, about 1½lbs, at Wharncliffe Reservoir. It's flanks were covered in a clear, jelly-like substance the like of which I've never seen before. I asked a fellow angler and he just said it will probably be OK so I released it and it swam off. Anyone have a clue what it could have been? I rather regret not taking a photo but wanted to return the fish ASAP.
 
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