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Impact of Quagga Muscles on Lake Powell Fishery

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mtnboy

Member
It has been a while since I engaged on this site and I apologize if this message has been previously addressed, but during my most recent trip to the Lake I notices something I hadn't seen in the past and I'm curious about a few things. I realize the Lake has been identified as having Quagga muscle infestation for what 8 years now, but I hadn't really seen any visible evidence of the infestation until this last trip. My wife and I were camped in Knowles Canyon and the changes were evident. All of the rocks were covered with muscles, and the water was crystal clear as deep as 20 feet. I have never seen this before, but it can no longer be ignored that the infestation is maturing at an alarming rate. I'm curious for a response from those that have information about the change the Quagga infestation could have on the fishery at Lake Powell.

As mentioned, the water was much clearer then I have ever seen it before. What impact does the removal of the lakes plankton have on the over all fish production. When you consider that the plankton is the food source of many of the natural baits, like the shad and craw-fish, are we looking at a serious decline in fish populations. I only ask because I was unable to to get one strike on any craw-fish imitation, which is very abnormal in spring, and I didn't graph near enough schools of striped bass as I usually do. Something appears to be changing.

Is there any effort to introduce the red-eared Sunfish to the Lake? To the best of my knowledge they are the only known predator to the Quagga muscle. Are they good eating? Anyone have experience with this species of sunfish?

Very much enjoy your thoughts on this issue. Thanks.
 

DreamWeaver

Active Member
It has been a while since I engaged on this site and I apologize if this message has been previously addressed, but during my most recent trip to the Lake I notices something I hadn't seen in the past and I'm curious about a few things. I realize the Lake has been identified as having Quagga muscle infestation for what 8 years now, but I hadn't really seen any visible evidence of the infestation until this last trip. My wife and I were camped in Knowles Canyon and the changes were evident. All of the rocks were covered with muscles, and the water was crystal clear as deep as 20 feet. I have never seen this before, but it can no longer be ignored that the infestation is maturing at an alarming rate. I'm curious for a response from those that have information about the change the Quagga infestation could have on the fishery at Lake Powell.

As mentioned, the water was much clearer then I have ever seen it before. What impact does the removal of the lakes plankton have on the over all fish production. When you consider that the plankton is the food source of many of the natural baits, like the shad and craw-fish, are we looking at a serious decline in fish populations. I only ask because I was unable to to get one strike on any craw-fish imitation, which is very abnormal in spring, and I didn't graph near enough schools of striped bass as I usually do. Something appears to be changing.

Is there any effort to introduce the red-eared Sunfish to the Lake? To the best of my knowledge they are the only known predator to the Quagga muscle. Are they good eating? Anyone have experience with this species of sunfish?

Very much enjoy your thoughts on this issue. Thanks.
There will be a story about the quagga mussel infestation at Lake Powell which is scheduled to be aired on Wednesday May 23 at 6:30 pm on KSL.
 

Ryan

Escalante-Class Member
I usually hate to see people respond to posts with "do a forum search for your topic", but I am going to say that here. There have been multiple posts/threads.

It really stinks that the lake became infested, but it is the new reality. :(

P.S. If someone has a link to the KSL story, I would love to see it.
 

Rexfly

Member
I usually hate to see people respond to posts with "do a forum search for your topic", but I am going to say that here. There have been multiple posts/threads.
I did a search on red ear sunfish and didn't find much. Wayne did a nice post a year ago. Any updates since then? I hear Havasu now has world record size red ears. What about gobies? The size of Great Lakes smallmouth have increased substantially with the invasion of the goby and aren't they the natural predators of quagga mussels?
 

mtnboy

Member
I introduced this original post to stimulate some discussion. I have read a great deal about this subject and I've come to the conclusion that introducing a natural predator to the mussel will be the ONLY solution. Why do I say that? Great question. If you consider the rapidity of the spread of quagga mussles through the lake you have to entertain a different etiology to the infestation than contaminated boats. A logical thought of "Deliberate Contamination" has to be considered. Many of you reading this are probably to young to have been around when the Glen Canyon Dam was being built and experienced the degree of obstructionists activities to that end. I would reference you to the book entitled " The Monkey Wrench Gang". But for just the sake of conversation, let's consider that someone is deliberately releasing contaminated water into the lake. If that is true then only a natural predator will combat the constant infusion of new organisms. I know, I can hear it already about the anti-conspiracy talk, but explain to me how a lake with a shore line comparable to the entire West Coast can have a complete infestation in just a few years. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but maybe I'm wrong, but we need to be thinking in a different way if we want to save such a fine fishery as Lake Powell. I'm just introducing a different thought than I have heard thus far. Thanks for thinking through this with me.
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
I did a search on red ear sunfish and didn't find much. Wayne did a nice post a year ago. Any updates since then? I hear Havasu now has world record size red ears. What about gobies? The size of Great Lakes smallmouth have increased substantially with the invasion of the goby and aren't they the natural predators of quagga mussels?

That is correct - Gobies are the natural predator of mussels in their home water.

Redear sunfish are a major predator of mussels in Lake Havasu.
 

Edward Gerdemann

Well-Known Member
That is correct - Gobies are the natural predator of mussels in their home water.

Redear sunfish are a major predator of mussels in Lake Havasu.

Smallmouth bass love gobies in the Great Lakes. Eight-pound plus smallies have been caught in Lake Erie since the gobies became established there. Formerly you wouldn't expect to see smallmouths that big that far north. Just a thought? :devilish:

Ed Gerdemann
 

linnell

Well-Known Member
Smallmouth bass love gobies in the Great Lakes. Eight-pound plus smallies have been caught in Lake Erie since the gobies became established there. Formerly you wouldn't expect to see smallmouths that big that far north. Just a thought? :devilish:

Ed Gerdemann
In some tournaments on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, it's taking more than a 6lb average of smallmouth to win
 

CHRIS MCBETH

Well-Known Member
We swam in a bay up in Rock Creek and for the first time saw free-swimming quagga squirting around in the water. In the short time we were anchored a few of them attached to our stern. I pulled them off and crushed the shells... and realized those things are now like flies. They’re everywhere.

Hopefully we can either introduce a spieces that will stem the tide, or maybe someone will invent a genetic modification method that causes their extinction over time...

The beach we anchored in Last Chance was covered with them and all of us cut our feet at various times and I sliced a couple fingers open using a large muscle covered rock to secure our boat.
 
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