Check, Clean & Dry: the Fight Against Aquatic Invaders

BOZEMAN, Montana's trout season begins to hit its stride, Simms Fishing Products ( www.simmsfishing.com ) is reminding angler

BOZEMAN, Montana As trout season begins to hit its stride, Simms Fishing Products (www.simmsfishing.com) is reminding anglers to be aware of their critical role in the fight against the spread of aquatic nuisance species.

Many of the county's outstanding recreational fisheries are under assault from aquatic invaders. Insipid organisms like didymo (or rock snot'), whirling disease and New Zealand mud snails threaten the biodiversity of numerous treasured natural resources. Collectively, invasive species (both terrestrial and aquatic) cost our country over $100 billion in damages every year. (*Source: Stop Aquatics Hitchhikers campaign, www.protectourwaters.net)

To stop the spread of nuisance species, anglers and all recreational enthusiasts are urged to check their gear, clean their gear, and dry their gear after every excursion.
Anglers and fishing groups have historically fought the good fight to conserve and improve our nations waterways,' said K.C. Walsh, president of Simms. Every angler has a responsibility to the resource to do whatever can be done to stop the spread of invasive species.'

Simms Fishing (www.simmsfishing.com), a partner in the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers project sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Fish& Wildlife Service, recommends that anglers clean their gear (waders, boots, wading staffs and nets) after each use. To properly clean equipment:

  • Check before leaving a river or stream. While streamside, remove all obvious clumps of algae and look for hidden clumps. If you find any at a later time, dispose all material in the trash. Brush off excess dirt, mud and other debris from boots (take out removable inner soles), waders, wading staff and net.
  • Clean with hot water (at least 40° C or 104° F) and rinse thoroughly.
  • Dry equipment. If possible, allow for five days of drying time before entering new waters.
  • Minimize gear used in affected waters in non-affected waters. Some anglers are buying gear dedicated just for certain streams, to reduce the risk of spreading invaders. Companies like Simms are offering waders and wading boots that are easy to clean and specifically designed to reduce absorbency.

Finally, report any suspected discoveries of invasive species to your local wildlife agencies as soon as possible.

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