Whirling Disease-resistant Rainbow Trout now a reality in CO

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Anglers—you’re going to want to pay attention to this.

In the '90s, whirling disease was present in almost every Colorado river and it killed off many wild populations of Rainbow Trout. Whirling Disease damages the cartilage of young fish, causing them to swim helplessly in circles and ultimately kills them. After decades of research and breeding, these new generations of farmed Rainbow Trout have become resistant to the disease-- and thanks to stocking efforts back in our rivers, the fish is thriving in the wild.

“It really changes how we manage our trout fisheries and the prospect of being able to bring back wild rainbow sport fishing opportunities is huge and the fact that we’re seeing some of this success in major rivers here in Northwest Colorado and really all over the state is encouraging,” says Lori Martin, senior aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The ultimate goal of the stocking effort is to restore natural reproduction in the wild, eliminating the need to stock Rainbows in the future.