As spring fishing nears in Michigan, anglers are being asked to help prevent the spread of invasive species. The latest? The New Zealand mudsnail.
The Michigan departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed the presence of the mudsnail in 2015. The invasive species was found in the Pere Marquette River near Baldwin.
The mudsnail is tiny, only about an eighth of an inch long, but the population can become dense. When that happens, they can outcompete for native species that trout feed on.
If the trout start feeding on mudsnails, that could poorly impact the fish because the mudsnail has no nutritional value.
According to the DNR, the risk of the New Zealand mudsnail spreading is high because they can easily attach to gear and hard surfaces. They can also survive in damp environments for up to 26 days.
And it only takes one snail to start reproducing once the creature has been transported.
The DNR recommends that anglers clean, drain and dry equipment to help prevent the spread of all invasive species.
If possible, anglers should clean their gear with hot water or a diluted bleach solution and allow the equipment to dry for at least five days.