Remember the new Michigan state record smallmouth from a few weeks ago?
Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists say you can thank two invasive species for the big bass. Bruce Kraemer from Treasure Island, Florida, caught the nearly 10-pound bass in the Indian River in Cheboygan County.
The previous state record was set back in October 2015. Before that? Try 1906.
“I’m not surprised that the record was broken again,” says DNR fisheries biologist Tim Cwalinski. “I would be surprised if it wasn’t broken again, soon.”
The invasive species are the reason for his prediction.
Rusty crayfish and round gobies are two new food sources for the smallmouth, and other gamefish, according to Cwalinski.
Judging by the size of bass caught in survey nets (he says 7-pounders come up often), the fish are chowing down.
“Smallmouths on steroids,” he says.
Biologists admit that the invasive species push out native ones, but some fish use the invaders as a food source. For instance, walleyes, yellow perch, brown trout and lake trout use the goby as a food source. Heck, the gobies even gobble up another invasive species that showed up in Great Lakes waters earlier: zebra mussels.
Unfortunately, as many anglers know, invasive species aren’t becoming a food source for the popular Chinook salmon.