Whirling Disease?

So i recently read a short article about Whirling (sp?) disease and would like to tap the unending resource of this great board.

Has anyone caught any fish infected with this disease, seen it? So i believe it has not reached htis area of the country but roughly 20 states carry the disease, is this gonna continue to spread our way? Has anyone seen any of the symptoms?

This concerns me as recent diseases in deer(which i love to chase) have continued to spread through farms and wild populations at an alarming rate, really a shame.

Any info or places where more info can be attained would be great. Thanks ahead of time

PS - wish i coulda made it up to chopaka guys, sounds like it was a blast, maybe next time, lemme know if you try and plan something later. :BIGSMILE
Yes, I have caught a few fish with whirling disease. Actually if the water is clear you can spot them pretty good. Whirling disease is actually kinda like chronic wasting disease in deer except if you eat a trout with WD, there is no side affects. To spot a trout with whirling disease, 1). They swim very strange, 2). They have little blobs of gummy tissue on their body, 3). Most of them aren't interested in eating.
Hope this helps a little,


A Good Day Fishing is Better Than A Bad Day Golfing(Or Vice Versa) :LOVEIT
I've read a few articles on Whirling Disease. From what I understand, 'spores' of the disease attack the brain and spinal tissue of affected trout (especially rainbows). The spine begins to fuse causing a curvature and in advanced stages, the fish can only swim in circles . . .hence the "whirling" appearance.

The spores of Whirling disease are commonly found in most hatchery-reared trout (rainbows and browns most frequently) across the US but it seems to stay dormant in most places. It was thought of mostly as a hatchery problem with occasional outbreaks in east-coast fisheries (esp. NY) but recently (last 10 years), the Rocky Mountain area rainbows (where they are not native, btw) have been hit hard . . .as much as 75% of the population lost in some streams. There are theories that the outbreak has something to do with water quality but I havn't heard anything concrete.

hope this answers your curiosity :pROFESSOR
I spent a week in Colorado this summer and fished a few days on the Upper C. I got to spend a good bit of time with a few knowledgeable fishermen. The topic of whirling disease came up a number of times. As the article in the above message states, the tubifex worm is a host for the parasite. The most recent research according to my sources in Colorado (read this as a big disclaimer) shows that one of the major contributors to the devastating effects the disease has had in Colorado (85% mortality of RBT in the Upper C) is the presence of dams on many of the rivers. The Dams create an ideal environment for the tubifex worm to propagate (mud bottoms). In addition, the lakes created by the dams were heavily stocked with infected hatchery trout which concentrated spores in the tubifex worm. When the tubifex worms release the spores they end up in the lake and spread through the river below the dam. So, like here, it is the damns that are the problem (just sort of kidding). I have no idea if Washington reservoirs support the tubifex worm. But if they do, we could someday face the same problem. And if Colorado is any indicator, it would likely destroy our RB and SH populations.

That said, anyone fishing in Colorado and returning to the NW or anyone from Colorado coming to the NW to fish should be sure to wash all of their gear in a mild bleach solution. If you a hauling a boat, be sure to clean it AND the trailer thoroughly with a bleach solution.

When I fished the Upper Colorado I saw three Rainbows and one cut. Got lots of browns, which where plenty of fun, but they just don’t take to dry flies or jump and run like a bow. So in short, Please take all necessary precautions if you are fishing in a state where whirling disease is present. Thanks and sorry about preaching or so much.


Idaho Resident Craftsman/Artisan
Teanaway River

Has anyone caught any fish infected with this disease, seen it?
Teanaway River.

Those fish up there use to be plentiful and beautiful. Last few times I've hit it all I found were deformed fish that couldn't swim straight. I assumed it was whirling disease. It dissapointed me bigtime. It has been over a year since I've been up there so I don't know if it has recovered at all since then. Anyone know anything about the Teanaway?


Old Man

Just an Old Man
Teanaway River

What do I know---I'm just an old man

We finelly have something in common. I like that little river also,but have not made it over there this year. I fished it two years ago but didn't notice any problems with the fish. When I go over there I usually camp out in a cheap motel for a few days just to fish the area. The reason for the motel is now that I'm older,I like hot showers,soft beds,air conditioning,tv, can't live without it. I hate sleeping on the ground,cold tents and bugs.



Idaho Resident Craftsman/Artisan
Teanaway River

Alright Jim,

That's all nice and fine and dandy. I think you should just keep on using that cheap motel.

Teanaway River

If you think you've caught fish with whirling disease in the Teanaway, you should report it to WDFW, DNR, the US Forest Service, and/or US Fish and Wildlife (depending on if you caught those fish on state or federal land). According to the State, the only places in WA where they have detected the spores that cause whirling disease are in the far nw and sw corners of the state, and they claim that they have never found fish with high enough levels of infection to actualy display "whirling disease."

Just last year, they found evidence of the spores in some streams in the Colville National Forest, and this summer and fall, WDFW, USFWS, and the Forest Service are supposed to be surveying other areas of the state looking for this and other fish pathogens. Your informatton could be important. Even if you're not sure of what you saw, it's probably worth reporting; since listed steelhead spawn in the Teanaway, someone should be looking into this.

There is a connection between hatcheries and whirling disiease. Not only can infected hatchery plants spread the disease to native populations, but hatcheries create conditions favorable to the growth of the spores during part of their life-cycle. Maybe there's a connection w/ those chinook rearing ponds on the NF Teanaway.


Idaho Resident Craftsman/Artisan
Teanaway River

Um OK,

I fish normally at the boise cascade campground area. It is a nice stretch. So who do you think I should call? There is a hatchery right there but I've never seen it operating. The fish that I have caught in there were native cuts. I have no idea what it is like now because it has been two years since. However, I think you are right. I should call.