Anglers can help decrease Aquatic Invasive Species

Story by Nevada Division of Wildlife

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are threatening Nevada’s waterways at an alarming rate and anglers can do their part to help reduce the spread.  Some of the major pathways for introductions occur when contaminated watercraft, fishing gear and equipment are moved from AIS infested waters to a non-infested waterbody.  Many times unseen by the naked eye, AIS can hitch a ride to a new waterbody without being seen.

The transfer of AIS can be prevented by water recreationalists who always CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY their equipment, gear and watercraft before entering another body of water.

Photo courtesy of NDOW New Zealand Mud Snails
Photo courtesy of NDOW
New Zealand Mud Snails

New Zealand mud snails (NZMS) have now been found in several Nevada waterways including:

  • A portion of the Truckee River near Sparks
  • Maggie Creek
  • A portion of the Humboldt River near Carlin
  • Beaver Dam Wash at Beaver Dam State Park
  • Salmon Falls Creek near Jackpot
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LMNRA)

When fishing in waters known to be infested with New Zealand mud snails, or other AIS, it is recommended anglers use separate equipment for that water body only and not use it in other waterways. Avoid using felt soled waders, they are known to easily transfer and provide a suitable habitat for AIS.

An extended survey of the Truckee River is expected to occur in the near future to determine the extent of the infestation.  The tiny NZMS can choke out native organisms that fish depend on for their food source.  All the NZMS sites are new infestations with the exception of Salmon Falls Creek and LMNRA. NZMS aren’t the only new invaders to Nevada waters.

In April 2011, quagga mussel veligers (larvae) were detected at both Lahontan and Rye Patch Reservoirs.  LMNRA has been heavily infested with quagga mussels since 2007.

You can prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species using this checklist every time you exit a water body:

Fishing Gear and Equipment


    Inspect and clean off any visible plants, animals and mud from gear and equipment including waders, footwear, ropes, anchors, bait traps, dip nets, downrigger cables, fishing lines and field gear before leaving the water access point.


    Drain all water from waders, boat, motor, bilge, bladder tanks, livewell and portable bait containers away from ramp. When keeping live bait, drain bait container and replace it with spring or dechlorinated tap water. Don’t add other live fish or water to the bait container and never dump live bait into a water unless it came from that water.

  • DRY

    Dry all areas for a minimum of 7 days in the middle of summer. Drying times during the winter can be longer. Wipe all areas down with a towel before storing or reuse. Completely dry all equipment and waders before storing or reusing.

Visit NDOW.ORG for additional information.

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