Set Your Hook: Aquatic Hitchhikers

Hitchhikers Guide to Boating

ESP Boss & The Queen Mother got back (today!) from their “big adventure” through Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Grand Tetons. While they had planned to kayak they said there wasn’t enough time.

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

One thing they told me though was that a lot of the areas were cracking down on aquatic hitchhikers. There were even checkpoints where water craft were examined for critters that shouldn’t be transported.

Knowing which waters contain nuisance hitchhikers is not as important as following these steps every time you leave any lake, stream or coastal area.

Before leaving any body of water, it is important to examine all your equipment, boats, trailers, clothing, boots, buckets etc and remove all visible mud, plants, fish or animals. Remove and leave them at the site you visited. The larvae (immature form) of an animal can be so tiny that you cannot see it. However, it can live in mud, dirt, sand, and on plant fragments. Do not transport any potential hitchhiker, even back to your home.

Eliminate water from all equipment before transporting anywhere. Much of the recreational equipment used in water contains many spots where water can collect and potentially harbor these aquatic hitchhikers. Then clean and dry anything that came in contact with the water, including boats, trailers, equipment, dogs, boots, clothing, etc. Plus, dry your equipment. If possible, allow for 5 days of drying time before entering new waters.

Do not release or put plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water. This includes live bait, if you’re permitted to fish with it in the area. (Check your state’s regulations; many lakes in Arizona prohibit the use of live baitfish.)

Also, do not release plants, fish or animals into storm drains, because most storm drains lead to water bodies or wetlands. This is an important prevention step, because many plants and animals can survive even when they appear to be dead.

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Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you have any issues with aquatic hitchhikers in your area?
  • What steps do you take to keep your equipment clean?
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