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Sea Lice

1204 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Stumpy
In my experience it has been quite rare to catch a steelhead with sea lice, I can only think of two that I have landed. Now this is of course contingent on fishing close to the ocean often, and much of my fishing likely occurs too far inland. All my fishing this fall however has been within ten to twelve miles of the ocean and my group has only landed one fish with lice. I am curious what others experiences are with this, and if anyone has theories as to why steelhead are rarely caught with lice, or if it is just that I don't catch enough fish to see them. It seems commonplace to catch all species of salmon with lice so this has me puzzled, why the difference?
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Just my 2 cents.

I often catch Spring Fish with lice but rarely winter or summer fish. Most of my fishing is less than 20 miles from the salt. I always attributed this to the fact that Spring fish are in a hurry to get to the spawning beds, do the nasty and head for the salt. Summer fish on the other time have 6-9 months before spawning so no hurry to get upriver. No hurry means no lice as they die by the time the fish get to me.
Makes sense to me. Where I spend most my time there is no defined spring run, just a few late returning winters, so I can't say I've seen the same phenomenon.

One thing I have been wondering is whether steelhead generally even have many lice in the ocean. I typically don't see the scarring from lice on steelhead.

I did a quick google scholar search but it only returned information of controlling lice in aquaculture facilities, so I was looking for some more anecdotal evidence.
How long will sea lice last on a fish once it enters fresh water?
up to about 48 hours as far as I know
Sea lice last about a week in freshwater. I've caught both summer and winter steelhead with sea lice when I'm fishing in areas that are within a few days of salt water.

Doncha wish crabs died as quickly in freshwater as sea lice?
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