Experienced fishermen are well aware of the dangers of invasive species can pose to their fishing resources; game fish can be threatened and waters can become difficult -- or worse, impossible -- to navigate.
For example, in the Great Lakes region, invasive species, like the zebra mussel, have actually become such a problem that it’s not just conservationists paying attention to the issue anymore. Legislators are getting involved and the issue is making headlines around the country.
As conservation efforts gain more and more traction around the country, what can anglers continue to do to be the best stewards of the lake and set a good example for others?
Follow these tips:
Educate yourself. Heading out on a fishing trip on lake you’ve never fished before? Be sure to read up on which invasive species pose a threat to the body of water, and familiarize yourself with what they look like. This way, you can keep an eye out for these non-native species during your outing.
Carefully inspect and clean your boat. When you’ve called it a day, be sure to get thorough with your post-trip inspection and cleaning. This will help keep those “hitch-hiker” invasive species at bay. According to protectyourwaters.net, anglers should get rid of any traces of matter -- including any mud, dirt, plants, fish and animals -- from the following boating and fishing gear:
- fishing rods and reels
- fishing line
- boat and trailer
- trolling motor
- wading stick
- and other items used in and around the water
Dry your gear. Before take your boating and fishing gear to another lake, make sure everything is clean and dry. Invasive species haven’t thrived because they’re weak -- so make sure you’re eliminating all possibilities that you could be transferring any too-small-to-see invasive species to another body of water through damp gear.
Lastly, remember that prevention is the key when it comes dealing with invasive species. Do your part by leading others by example.