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home : columns : columns May 24, 2016

7/2/2013 5:41:00 PM
Hooked on Fishing: Invasive Plants: A Threat to Good Fishing
By Dick Peach

Last time I talked about one of the most invasive (not native to this area) species, the Asian Carp, and what a few people were doing to try and reduce its impact on our fishery. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been tracking the non-native species in our Great Lakes for a long time and they have documented over 189 invasive species in our lakes. Along with the Asian carp: we have, the Zebra mussels, Quagga mussels, spiny water flea, sea lamprey and several species of gobies.

These aquatic animals, however, are not the only problem; we have also been blessed with hundreds of invasive plants that cause as many problems as the fish do. Some of the more prevalent varieties are: Eurasian milfoil, purple loosestrife, and curly-leaf pondweed. We have a new name to add to the list of invasive plants, Hydrilla. This new plant has been spotted in Indiana and Wisconsin so it won’t be long before it visits us. We need to stop this one before it gets too big a foothold here in Illinois because it will impact our sport fishing, native wildlife, waterfront property values and other aquatic plant life.

This plant can grow as much as 1 inch a day and if a small piece breaks off, it can sprout roots and start a new plant. That’s why it can spread so quickly. We need your help in stopping this invader from getting a foothold here. There are volunteers who have started a program called Hydrilla Hunt that can provide you with pictures of the plant so that when you spot it you can notify authorities so that they can get it out of the water. You can get all the information and photographs from the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership (NIIPP) on their website at  

Fishing these last weeks has been very difficult. With all the rain, the rivers are swollen again as well as some of the lakes, which has made patterns hard to establish. High water requires trying different locations as the fish look for new feeding flats. Look for those new flats near the drop-offs for some of the best action. Let’s hope for more stable weather in the coming weeks, until next time... keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at

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