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5/18/2018 9:47 pm  #1

gill lice

We caught a bunch of brookies last weekend on one of the interior lakes, and we noticed every single fish has some white growth on the gills, and sometimes on the fins. In some cases it was just a few and in other cases there were hundreds on the fish. The bigger fish seemed to have it more than the smaller ones.
All the fish fought well and seemed healthy otherwise.
We kept 3 fish total that we ate during that trip.

When I got back home I did a quick google search and it looks like these fish had gill lice.

Anyone else encountered this in the park? Do you eat the fish? What are your thoughts on the effect this might have on the fishery? Will these fish eventually die off?


5/23/2018 9:03 am  #2

Re: gill lice

I don't have any first hand knowledge, but looked it up.  Gill lice make breathing hard for the fish, and can eventually suffocate it.  It impacts their development, and reproduction as well.  There can be die-offs that result, so it isn't a good thing, that's for sure.  Apparently it can spread pretty easily, and it looks like that's what you encountered.  What I read tells me that the fish are safe to eat if cooked properly. 

I don't think gill lice would be expected to show up on the fins, however.  So, if you saw something on the exterior of the gills and fins, that could be ick (ichthyophthirius multifiliis), which is also fatal if/when it gets bad enough. I couldn't find anything out about whether safe to eat or not, except I did find lots of photos of gross parasites that show up in fish.

Maybe you encountered fish that were impacted by both?


5/24/2018 9:56 am  #3

Re: gill lice

There's a picture for anyone interested. It's not the best unfortunately. I'm positive it's Gill lice.

Yes I did see some of them on the fins but very little.

No one else has encountered this Huh?

     Thread Starter

5/24/2018 10:04 pm  #4

Re: gill lice

Was it a stocked lake or wild? Poor fish, looks tough.


5/25/2018 1:39 pm  #5

Re: gill lice

Yeah we caught a few this year in the park that had them too, meat was fine though so we ate them, no problem...  I've found that some years they're worse than others, not sure what exactly affects that, it certainly wasn't a warm water issue!


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