White spot disease kills Arctic grayling in Scout Lake

KENAI — State officials have identified warmer lake temperatures as a possible contributing factor to the die-off of hundreds of Arctic grayling this summer.

A state Department of Fish and Game laboratory report says the fish died of ichthyophthiriasis, a relatively uncommon condition in Alaska known as the white spot disease, The Peninsula Clarion reported.

The discovery of the dead fish washed up on the shores of Scout Lake in August was the first incident in Kenai. Other documented cases have been found in Meadow Creek, Big Lake, Six Mile Lane and Cheney Lake.

Biologists found that most of the fish affected in Scout Lake were larger fish. Rainbow trout, even though they were equally vulnerable, and smaller grayling appeared to be unaffected.

“We were real shocked after we found out that the rainbows didn’t have it,” said Robert Begich, the area management biologist for the Division of Sport Fish in Soldotna.

The disease would have had to be introduced sometime after the lake was treated in 2009 with rotenone, a piscicide, and restocked from the state hatchery in 2010. The disease probably did not come from the state hatchery, as the same grayling have been stocked in various lakes around the state without a problem, Begich said.

The report says that the warmer temperatures of Alaska lakes this summer may have had a negative impact on the fish.

“Grayling are a cold water species, so it’s possible that they were more strongly affected by the water temperatures,” Begich said.

A long period of higher water temperatures combined with a high number of susceptible hosts could create “the perfect storm for severe disease and mortality to ensue,” according to the report.

Some of the grayling in Scout Lake could still have the disease, Begich said. The laboratory report recommends that all equipment used to catch fish in the lake be thoroughly cleaned to avoid spreading the disease.

___

Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 22, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Campaign buttons urging Alaskans to repeal ranked choice voting in Alaska sit on a picnic table at the home of Phil Izon, a backer of the initiative, in Wasilla, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 14. Arguments are scheduled May 28 in a lawsuit challenging the state Division of Election’s decision to certify the initiative for placement on the ballot this year. (Mark Thiessen / AP)
Ranked-choice voting has challenged the status quo. Its popularity will be tested in November

Arguments scheduled Tuesday in Alaska lawsuit involving ballot initiative repealing RCV.

A sperm whale is seen in an undated photo published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA photo)
Alaska fisherman pleads guilty to federal charges after ordering crew to shoot whale

A Southeast Alaska troll fisherman has agreed to plead guilty to a… Continue reading

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

A king salmon. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Biden administration advances bid to list Gulf of Alaska king salmon as endangered or threatened

Experts say request could restrict activity affecting river habitats such as road, home construction

Mayor Beth Weldon (left), Deputy Mayor Michelle Bonnet Hale and Juneau Assembly member Paul Kelly discussion proposals for next year’s mill rate during an Assembly Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members support lower 10.04 mill rate ahead of final vote on next year’s CBJ budget

Initial proposal called for raising current rate of 10.16 mills to 10.32 mills.

Dave Scanlan, general manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, speaks to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on April 13, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Dave Scanlan forced out as Eaglecrest’s general manager, says decision ‘came as a complete shock to me’

Resort’s leader for past 7 years says board seeking a “more office-process, paper-oriented” manager.

Most Read