Lake Trout Parasites Confound Some Lake Superior Anglers

Some anglers on Munising Bay in Lake Superior have been finding parasites on lake trout and splake, according to a release from Michigan State University Extension. Splake are a cross between lake trout and brook trout.

The lake trout parasites resemble small, white or yellow grubs and attach themselves to the gills, fins or bodies of trout. Experts at the Michigan State Extension say that the adult males of the parasite die out quickly after breeding, so the ones that get big on trout are always females.

But despite the gruesome appearance of the parasite, known as Salmincola siscowet, it doesn’t appear to be harmful to humans. Extension officials report that filleting a trout should get rid of all affected areas. If it doesn’t, it’s simple enough to cut out inflicted portions of meat using a knife.

All of the impacts inflicted by the parasitic copepod are felt only by fish. In addition to latching on to and feeding on a fish’s skin, the parasite may also make it more vulnerable to infections later on.

Top image: Parasitic copepods on a lake trout. (Credit: Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre)

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