Cause of disease:
What does it look like?
Coiled, long flat worms intertwined in the fish's digestive tract or abdomen. Sometimes found as a single worm, but often several are found coiled like a ball. This may occur with other parasitic worms as well, not only the bass tapeworms.
Fish species affected:
Found in both largemouth and small mouth bass.
The tapeworm matures in the bass. Segments of the worm and eggs are passed from the fish to the body of water. When they reach water, they swell, rupture, and release large numbers of eggs. Eggs are eaten by a variety of crustacean organisms or any fish. A larval stage is formed in the invertebrates or in a fish. Adult tapeworms develop if bass consumes either the invertebrate host or the fish with the intermediate stages.
Where is the disease is found?
Everywhere in Minnesota where largemouth or small-mouth bass are present.
Is it safe to eat?
Mature tapeworm makes the bass unappealing for food even though the eating quality of the fish is not affected and there is no human danger if the fillets are cooked thoroughly.
How can I prevent the spread?
Don't transport bass from one body of water to another without a DNR permit. Don't release live baitfish into water.
Disposal of unused portions:
Unused or uneaten portions of fish should be buried or disposed of with household waste. Fish entrails should never be discarded back into the lake.