Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mudsnails in Oregon: Invasive Species Whack-a-mole

New Zealand Mudsnails may be the most depressing invasive species issue facing trout fishermen in the West. According to a pamphlet from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service:

  • Mudsnails are 1/8 of an inch long (but could be as small as a grain of sand
  • Mudsnails have a wide tolerance in water quality and temperature -- in fact they can live for days out of water on your gear
  • Mudsnails reproduce by cloning, so you only need one
  • Mudsnail population densities can reach half a million in one square yard of river.

    New Zealand Mudsnails eat algae, outcompeting native bottom dwelling insects, impacting fisheries.

    So how do you stop the spread? Let me warn you, it's pretty depressing...

  • Scrub your wading gear with a brush, disinfectant
  • Freeze your waders overnight!
  • Boil your waders for five minutes above 130 F.

    Montana State University has taken up the study of NZ Mudsnails. The map below shows the spread of the snails.

  • 1 comment:

    Michael G. said...

    Thanks for the post Matt. My wife was fishing the lower Deschutes this weekend and noticed ODFW signs all over the place concerning this topic