Alert Issued by PBFC
Inside the Outdoors, October 25
, 2013

It’s nothing new when the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission issues an alert about invasive species taking over certain streams and lakes. What’s troubling is that anglers do not heed to these warnings and go on with life to the point that they think nothing has changed.

This time the problem concerns the presence of the aquatic invasive species known as New Zealand mudsnail. It was detected in Spring Creek, Centre County.

The first thing that ran through my mind may be that of others, as well. “I don’t go fishing there, so I don’t have to concern myself with taking precautionary measure and clean my equipment after returning home.” That may be true for you or me for the time being, but what about others who fish there and then bring these organisms to Loyalhanna Creek, for instance. Then we have a program, folks.

Reading further down in this news release (Oct. 11. 2013), the following paragraph caught my attention – “The invasive species has spread to Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. They were discovered in the Snake River in Idaho and Wyoming in 1987; in Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River in 1991; and in Lake Erie about 4 miles north of Presque Isle Bay in 2007.” It goes on from there, but the phrase of concentration should be noted in the last five lines.

If these fruit fly-sized creatures made it from Europe to Presque Isle Bay in short order, when will they arrive where local anglers are fishing for steelhead? After all, the question should weigh heavily on the minds of those fishing the bodies of water of Lake Erie.

‘So what’s the deal,” one may ask? “Like other aquatic invasive species, they disrupt ecosystems by rapidly multiplying and competing with native species for space and food. Based on studies conducted in western U.S. streams, if the population grows quickly, they could become the dominant bottom dwelling organisms upon which many other species defend for food,” it said.

According to the PFBC, “New Zealand mudsnails require some specialized disinfection measures. Gear should be visually inspected and any cling matter should be removed and disposed of in the trash. To kill mudsnails, three methods are effective. Gear can be frozen for a minimum of six hours, or it can be soaked in hot water – 120 degrees F. to 140 degrees F. – for five minutes. This last method is not recommended for Gortex.”

It was noted that “a study by the California Department of Fish and Game showed that mudsnails can be killed by soaking gear for five minutes in a one-to-one solution of Formula 409 ® Cleaner Degreaser Disinfectant and water. After soaking the gear for five minutes, thoroughly rinse it with plain water. General cleaners have not been shown to be effective against the mudsnail.”

It was suggested by a leading line company representative that any type of line should be removed before treatment as it will be harmed if left on the reels if frozen or doused.

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While listening to a man speak to an audience recently, he spoke about the rivers around the world. I was taken aback when he mentioned the Loyalhanna Creek in comparison and spoke of it as being “unsightly and muddy.” That is the farthest from the truth. Yes, most bodies of water are muddy after a rainstorm, but after the calm has taken effect, even the Loyalhanna Creek is clear and beautiful if one knows where to look.

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Got the word last week – “They’re in there.” What these two anglers were talking about were the many trout that the state stocked recently. There was question because it was reported that few people are fishing Keystone State Park Lake in New Alexandria.

So, I posed the question to one of them, “How many fish were caught between the both of you?” The answer was “zip, none.” Both Latrobe men had the same experience. “The trout kept hitting against the lures, but we weren’t able to catch any of them,” both said.

On that same day, I decided to wander down to Loyalhanna Creek and toss my favorite lure in the clear, rapidly moving waters. On my second cast, I nailed a 15-inch tiger trout. I also got two 10-inch smallmouth bass. All fish were returned to the waters. “I was looking for a 10 -12-inch trout to eat. That one was too big for my frying pan!


- Paul J. Volkmann
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