In the Loop 02.17.11

Rainbow Phil

Biologists in Montana point to the mobility and adaptability of rainbow trout
as among the reasons populations did not crash the way many feared
when whirling diseasd was first discovered.

photo by Phil Monahan

When whirling disease was first discovered in the Madison River in 1994, many anglers feared that the end of the fishery was nigh. Fifteen years later, the Madison is still a wildly popular angling destination, and biologists believe that  the adaptability of rainbow trout allowed populations to survive the disease. An article in the Helena Independent Record details current thinking on the subject. A variety of factors—including the mobility of rainbows, which travel an average of 42.8 miles per year; their ability to spawn in different places each year; and habitat conditions not favorable to whirling disease spores—explain why populations remain healthy, if slightly reduced.

fish icon Two new online publications launched new issues this week. First, Aaron Otto’s Sleeping in the Dirt, volume 6 includes articles on fall fishing for muskies, chasing Great Lakes steelhead, along with lots of great art and photography. Also, the Spring 2011 issue of Ten & Two: An Angler’s Journey is built around a great feature on stalking redfish in Louisiana marshes south of New Orleans and includes lots of local flavor, plus a discussion of the non-oil-caused threats to our marshlands in the Mississippi Delta.
fish icon The Trout Underground‘s Tom Chandler finds out what happens when you poke fun at It turns out that my co-worker James Hathaway subscribes to the theory that revenge is a dish best served cold.
fish icon On the Will Fish for Work blog, Wayne Mumford offers an update on the proposed Montana stream-access law, which has many anglers worried that they state is headed in the direction of Utah, where landowners have successfully tightened restrictions on once-public waterways. Gladly, the prevailing wisdom is that the bill will not make it out of the state Senate. Let’s hope that this isn’t just the opening salvo in a long access battle.

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