Rainbow trout in the Watauga River are infected with “whirling disease.”
Fishery biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently discovered the affliction at the river near Boone. Now, there is concern about potential significant impacts on trout populations in other places.
Whirling disease is caused by a parasite and affects all species of trout and salmon, but rainbow and brook trout appear the most susceptible.
The disease causes skeletal deformation and neurological damage. Infected fish “whirl” forward in an awkward, corkscrew-like pattern instead of swimming normally and find feeding difficult.
While acknowledging that the disease doesn’t necessarily mean a dramatic loss of fish, the commission plans precautions to limit its spread.
Although the diseased fish didn’t come from the agency’s three trout hatcheries, stockings have been suspended until it can be determined that fish presently in these facilities aren’t infected.
“The disease is spread mainly by infected fish and fish parts,” the commission disclosed in a news release. “However, it also can be transmitted by birds as well as anglers who might have the microscopic parasite on their fishing equipment, waders and boats.” Observer News Services
S.C. dove hunting season opens Sept. 5
South Carolina once again will have a four-segment dove season.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that the opening segment is scheduled Sept. 5-7, Labor Day weekend, with shooting hours from noon until sunset.
Following segments are Sept. 8-Oct. 17, Nov. 14-28 and Dec. 15-Jan. 15. Shooting hours in each of these segments are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.
The daily bag limit, as in the past, is 15 birds.
Forty-five public dove fields are available to hunters across the state. A list of these is available at the website, DNR.SC.Gov. The list also can be obtained by phoning 803-734-3886 or by writing Public Dove Fields, Box 167, Columbia, 29202. ONS
▪ Master officer Brian Cookston of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been honored as the state’s boating law enforcement officer of the year. Cookston was recognized for his actions in response to a commercial jet boat accident on Fontana Lake that injured numerous passengers. He was instrumental in getting medical attention and other assistance to the scene. He also was cited for numerous hours of boating safety instruction.
▪ With a burgeoning number of boats on its waters, South Carolina is undertaking a series of public meetings for discussion of safety issues in advance of possible regulation changes. Among these is a session Aug. 13 in Clover at the School District Resource Center, 320 Clinton Ave. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. In 2014 there were approximately 485,000 boats registered in S.C., placing it among the top 10 in the nation.
Catches Of The Week
▪ A 4 1/2-pound speckled trout at Oak Island pier by local angler Vince O’Conner.
▪ A 41-pound wahoo off Hatteras Village by Maggy Linka of Greensboro.
▪ A 22-inch rainbow trout at Fontana Lake by Brian Cagle of Graham County.
▪ A 5.2-pound flounder near Ocean Isle by Nancy Helms, who was breaking in a new skiff.
▪ A 28-pound king mackerel, her first, by Katelyn Prince, an employee at Ocean Isle Fishing Center.