Low water levels, increasing parasites in fish

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said this of time year they get a lot of reports of parasites on freshwater fish. The agency said the parasites are due to low water levels this fall.

“I would like to see them go away, I don’t know what it would take,” said fisherman Richard Ramsey. He said 75% of the fish he catches at Lost Creek Lake have the parasite copepod.

“The parasite, it happens every year,” he added.

According to ODFW, the parasite can be easily found in almost all lakes on freshwater fish during fall.  The agency said low water levels make it easier for the parasite to find different species.

“If people go inland to our local lakes in the late spring when the lakes have more water or are full of water, the fish has more area to distribute, they’re not right next to each other, so the copepods aren’t able to affect other fish as easily,” said Peter Samarin, Fish Biologist with ODFW.

The agency said so far this fall, there’s been little to no rain.

“The fish are safe to eat, we do recommend that you do remove the copepods prior to eating,” said Samarin.

For a parasite fact sheet click HERE. 

Oregon Fish and Wildlife is hosting a free fishing event on Friday, November 29th, and Saturday, November 30th. That means you can fish, crab or clam for free anywhere in the state.

For more information click HERE.

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