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Burchoid

Lets add milfoil and zebra mussels to every lake in MN!

15 posts in this topic

Ok so that statement is a bit out there, and I don't recommend anyone do this, but lets step back a minute and discuss the topic, if for anything to increase peoples' awareness of these two species.

If you look at different lakes and rivers around the country you will find that fishing has greatly improved since the introduction of Milfoil and Zebra Mussels. Does anyone have any examples of these two 'invasive' species degrading a fishery?

Here's a couple facts:

Milfoil creates awesome fish habitat while clearing up the water at the same time. Zebra mussels greatly improve water quality (Lake Erie for example).

I'd argue that Milfoil and Zebra Mussels have done more good than bad for lakes and rivers in MN by improving both water quality and clarity as well as creating more and better fish habitats.

Thoughts?

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Milfoil is definately a big plus to bass fishing and it definatly puts a smile on my face when it spreads into a new lake. Zebra mussels are a whole different story. They do have the benefit for certain bodies of water where they filter and clean them, but they have a lot of negative effects as well.

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Milfoil might be good for bass, but it chokes out channels, shorelines, etc. Please watch for it on boat & trailers and not transport to other lakes.

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Ok so that statement is a bit out there, and I don't recommend anyone do this, but lets step back a minute and discuss the topic, if for anything to increase peoples' awareness of these two species.

If you look at different lakes and rivers around the country you will find that fishing has greatly improved since the introduction of Milfoil and Zebra Mussels. Does anyone have any examples of these two 'invasive' species degrading a fishery?

Here's a couple facts:

Milfoil creates awesome fish habitat while clearing up the water at the same time. Zebra mussels greatly improve water quality (Lake Erie for example).

I'd argue that Milfoil and Zebra Mussels have done more good than bad for lakes and rivers in MN by improving both water quality and clarity as well as creating more and better fish habitats.

Thoughts?

I think the answer to your question is highly dependent on one's definition of "Fishery."

If fishery is defined as habitat for particular species then maybe the answer is yes if the species you wish to promote is benefitted. No if it is not.

If fishery is defined in terms of accessibility then maybe the answer to the milfoil question is no if you're a boat owner or want to use a boat with an outboard motor.

We use our lakes and streams for more than growing specific fish species. We have other recreational uses such as boating, skiing, swimming, etc. The zebra muscles could render a beach downright dangerous the way it sounds.

It's a matter of opinion I guess.

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BobT is right on. These invasive species might have some positives such as helping out bass and some other stuff, but they have plenty of negatives that impact the natural, local ecosystem. They change the habitat that most native fish are used to, so they change the lake as a whole.

I don't think that we want to encourage wholesale changes in our lakes and streams. About the only thing that I know is most of mankind's "changes" to the environment are wrong. We don't know how to do anything better than mother nature, just differently, and mankind's changes always have some kind of effect.

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I disagree with the assumption that Eurasian Watermilfoil is always good for bass. Plant species diversity promotes a diverse aquatic ecosystem with a wider variety of fish microhabitats…grassy flats, distinct cabbage patches, native northern milfoil or coontail edges. Canopy-forming exotics like EWM displace structurally diverse native plant species. The same giant piles of milfoil slop that impede boat traffic make bass foraging for prey difficult. The saving grace for milfoil in fisheries terms is that it will often provide habitat were there was none…the plant colonizes barren spots, grows in deeper water, is in general a more tolerant species. In that way, it provides more bass habitat and might increase the bass carrying capacity. Providing more habitat for bass changes the fish community some, at times at the expense of other fish species.

If it were me I would rather have a mix of native plants that provide the lake the benefit of diverse structure, diverse ecosystem form and functions…the benefits of greater biodiversity of flora and fauna to this planet are undeniable. Some of the muskie, bass, and walleye guides I’ve spoken with on ‘Tonka talk about finding and working over native vegetation because the pockets are more open and hold more fish, not to mention you aren’t getting hung up quite as often.

In their own way, zebras and EWM improve water clarity, EWM by stabilizing the substrate against wind action and zeebs by filtering the water. Zebras also collect contaminants, actually bioaccumulating them to levels where if zebras are eaten by consumers they can suffer chronic problems from certain chemicals. Like BobT said, they clog inlets, wreck beaches, etc. etc.

Very little is known about zebra mussel effects on entire food chains. We know they assert a bottom-up manipulation of the system, but the effects can be varying at different trophic levels. Each lake is going to be a little different. By locking up a good chunk of the phyto and zooplankton, you are having some remarkable effects on the lake. Who is to say you aren’t decreasing available food to other consumers that might in turn provide for the walleye population, for example? You could actually be limiting a fishery in that instance. Or that increasing water clarity could make a particular group of fish less effective at foraging, so they are at a competitive disadvantage. Or that light sensitive fish stop feeding during the day, when the tourists are fishing. Lots of unknown things that are hard to predict when you start talking about adding exotics to lakes and assuming they will have a beneficial effect on your favorite game fish. They very well might positively impact your favorite fish in terms of actual abundance numbers, but if you change one variable in the system, there will be a counteracting response.

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The only positive twist you can make about zebra mussels is that they use carbon to make their shell. Therefore they are a carbon sink and help fend off global warming. wink

Eurasian water milfoil wouldn't be anywhere near as poblematic if people hadn't been trying to make every lake into a bath tub. Killing native plants gives milfoil a foothold. As Da_chise31 said diverse native plants communities, insert foghorn, are much better for a lake than monocultures of milfoil or curly leaf pondweed.

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I hear ya black bay. I worry for my lake, it was poisoned off a number of years ago due to the nuisance canadian waterweed. The main basin has absolutely no submergent vegetation to this day. Curly leaf pondweed is pretty common in the area, while milfoil is relatively rare. I have snagged a leaf or two in a bay that appears to be the dreaded curlyleaf, but I can't be certain as I haven't got more than a leaf. Last 4th of July I also picked up a fragment of milfoil that I'm guessing a boater brought in. I brought up native plant restoration with the DNR for this reason, any decision won't be made until next year but it may be too late by then.

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Milfoil and zebra mussels should not be in any lake. Yea i kno bass love the milfoil and all and I love to fish it. But it does have a bad effect on the lakes. Especially the smaller not so deep lakes that its in since it can grow in water up to 15 feet. It also takes oxygen out and kills all the native plants that provide that oxygen and can choke out a lake after many years.

Zebra mussels are the worse. One you cannot get rid of them once they are in a lake. Yea they clean the water which is nice but they also filter the water and eat all the zoo plankton and micro orginisms that bait fish eat to survive off of. So when a lake like Lake Erie has them, after many many years there wont be enough bait fish for the fish to survive off of cause they will die out because of no food and will have to be stocked.

What makes the invasive species the worse is that alot of people look at the problems they cause and think hey they do good things for the lake but they dont. So we need to protect our waters for future generations can fish and not have to deal with all this [PoorWordUsage] in our waters. It really ticks me off when I see boaters go to an access with weeds hanging off of there boat and I see it quite a bit because of working at access all week.

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I am glad that the original poster started this thread. It's a good discussion and there hasn't been any mud slinging. This is what forums should be all about.

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Its just good to discuss this stuff... I think people know what milfoil and zebra mussels are, but do we really know the true effects they can have -- both positive and negative? I know of the potential positive effects, and I have 'heard' of the potential negative effects. I wanted to see if anyone out there has an example of a specific lake where the ecosystem has been destroyed from either of these invasive species. I don't know of any personally. A lot of the negatives you hear out there seems to be speculation.

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Zebra muscles are sharp and ruin beaches and swimming. I used to boat a lot by Winona, and they ruined a lot of nice sandbars.

On the other hand the panfish are back, the water is much clearer, and there is a lot more weed growth on the river.

Milfoil is hard to fish (much easier on the ice), grows into huge mats; but also gives fish plenty of cover (maybe too much).

Those are my thoughts, there is a lot more on the DNR HSOforum.

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Some of these invasive plants (milfoil, curly leaf pondweed) are pretty agressive. They can take over native plants and grow very thick mats that crowd out fish, remove oxygen, prevent any kind of shoreline fishing, etc. I don't think there are too many benefits that I can think of. Once established, they cannot be completely removed.

PLEASE PLEASE check your trailers and drain your livewells when you float on our various lakes. One simple plant fragment can change a lake forever.

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A quick google search can bring up many reasons NOT to have invasives much more convincing than the reasons TO have them. I have grown up along lake erie and we've always had a boat in the water every summer. BEFORE the mussels I remember not having to wear water shoes whenever I'm in the water and not having to either pull the boat out or pull it in shallows to scrape off the nasty boogers. Some people have the option of raising their engines out of the water so mussels dry out and die and never can take up residence in them... others do not.

AFTER the mussels things that do come to mind are many broken down boats in the middle of the lake.. overheating due to lack of inflow of water to cool the engine.

Wearing water shoes all the time so that I dont get nasty cuts on my feed.

Constantly losing downriggers because of them getting caught on extremely large clumps of mussels. IF i was lucky i'd reel back in a huge clump of mussels but more often than not i'd reel in an empty line. This gets extremely expensive!!!!

We had a boat sink AT THE DOCK!!! from mussels. I went out one day to take it out and it was GONE! Under water and hanging onto the dock by the lines... mussels had got up into the skuppers forcing them open. water leaked in and eventually drained both batteries overnight from the bilge pump constantly running. These things suck!

While lake erie itself has not seen the profound effects of a fishery crash yet (different type of ecosystem.) Lake michigan has!!! read these great articles!

*note a simple google search for "great lakes prey fish decline* can help you find these links*

Not to mention the large mats of milfoil miles long in the lake!!! try getting a boat through them without getting stuck/overheated!!!! This cost thousands of dollars to clean up all summer. I've seen chemicals dumped in the bay of the lake to kill the weeds which ends up in large fish kills and a stinky mess that has to be raked out. These invasives are NOT meant to be here!!!

Please rethink your decision to even think that such a terrible thing would help your lakes!!!

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