Anglers good habits best defense against aquatic invasive speciesWith the long winter months well behind us, anglers are out doing what they love the most. As you drive along Lake Superior, the water is dotted with boats, everyone hoping to feel that familiar tug on their line.
With the long winter months well behind us, anglers are out doing what they love the most. As you drive along Lake Superior, the water is dotted with boats, everyone hoping to feel that familiar tug on their line.
There are few experiences in life as exciting as reeling in that first big fish of the season. But, along with that experience comes a sinister threat to the very sport so many love.
Aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil, and spiny water fleas can be transported from one water body to another by unsuspecting anglers. These non-native species can lead to a dramatic change in the ecosystem of a waterway, which directly affects the health of the fishery.
When a Lake Superior boater travels to an inland lake there is an even greater chance of spreading the aquatic invaders. “Lake Superior is host to numerous aquatic invasive species that are not presently found in nearby inland lakes,” says Carrie Sanda, Douglas County AIS coordinator, “And it’s up to every single waterway user to help keep it that way.”
There are five basic steps everyone should take before launching or leaving any waterway:
• Inspect fishing gear, watercraft, equipment.
• Remove any attached aquatic plants or animals before launching and before leaving a boat landing.
• Drain all water from equipment including containers, live wells, bilge pump, motor, and transom.
• Never move live fish away from a water body.
• Buy minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer and use leftover minnows only under certain conditions.
If you are taking your boat from Lake Superior to an inland lake, there are two additional prevention steps that should be taken:
• Wash the boat at a car wash or with 160-degree water from a high pressure washer.
• Dry the boat out in the sun for a week.
Public education is an extremely important aspect of containing the spread of AIS.
“Anglers tend to be a very proactive group when it comes to aquatic invasive species,” says Sanda, “and once they understand and become aware of this issue, they are quick to do their part.”
For more information on aquatic invasive species, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Invasives or contact Sanda at email@example.com or (715) 394-8525. Visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/hookline.html for information on bait laws.