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Randy Helzer

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Just wondering if anyone else has seen the same aperant drop in mussel quantities that I have this year (Bullfrog)? When we were down in April, the only place we saw large quantities was on the north facing canyon walls in Lost Eden Canyon. I did not find any anywhere else, even on the hull or floats at our slip. When we came down in July, again we could not find any (the water level could explain the lack of mussels on the beaches and canyon walls, but wouldn’t affect the boat hull and slip floatation). Then this past October, we could not find any, even when we returned to Lost Eden.

I’ve been told there were some mussels on the hull of our Houseboat when she was pulled, but less than last year.

Is anyone else seeing the same thing?
I would love that to be true. I'm afraid most of the activity is hidden by the fact that we're still (even today) at almost 20' higher water level than last year. As to the boat hulls and slips, it'll be interesting to see the bottoms of some of the boats. I think the activity at the water line is hard to track. I knocked a bunch of mussels off of our houseboat in the spring. They were on dock lines, outdrives, etc. They didn't reappear, but I'm not sure they grow fast enough to become visible again in one boating season.

Also, M-dock in BF this year was a mess from the crows, ducks, and other birds living there through the winter. The interesting thing to me, walking through the piles of excrement, was that they seemed to have been eating exposed mussels. Suffice it to say that walking down M-dock was a very crunchy experience.
we pulled the HB from bullfrog last September ---- I could not find any mussels on it. Put it back in water in April and I found mussels attached on our drives by June. checked again in Aug, and they had grown and multiplied. Not covered, but there were plenty of them.
We were there in mid October, Bullfrog area. The only ones we found were under rocks along the shoreline. I was happy to see none on the rock walls in the canyons, as I had expected to see... Wonder what next year will bring. Hopefully lots of run off!
Side note: Jackson Hole ski area (Teton Village) is reporting 110 inches already- While it is not in the Green River drainage, it is close. Yep, I'm an optimist.;)
I was near Bullfrog last weekend and was surprised at how many larger mussels were on the rocks right out of the water. They were everywhere.


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We saw them on every north facing wall we fished from Halls to the Rincon in the spring. Then with the higher water level we didn't see them anywhere over the summer. I'm with Barts Place. I think we may not be seeing them due to the higher water levels and not cause they're gone or slowed the multiplying. We (nervously) decided to leave our boat on the buoy this year. Guess we'll see what it looks like when we pull it next fall. Haven't noticed them on the outdrives yet, but thats only based on what I can see from water level, not diving down to look or seeing it out of the water.
I think PowellBride, Kenny Hart and BartsPlace are correct. The attached pictures are along the wall just South of Halls Crossing in mid April this year. You can see the high water mark and the Mussels are there. When actually there, you can see the last three year high water marks, just by the concentration of mussels each year. You may notice in the pictures that the mussels tend to adhere to the cracks or little horizontal or offset breaks, rather than the smooth vertical sections and the upper few feet of the high water mark typically appears to contain the greatest density. This likely also coincides with the highest surface water temperature and longest hours of sunlight, though I don't know how that all interacts.
In any case, our experience, based on this visual data over the last couple of years, is they are getting worse, but you see them best when the water is lower in the early spring.

Here in New Mexico, the AIS coordinator has become a friend, met through our boat decontaminations he performs each time we return from Powell. He takes New Mexico License Plates to Page and they hang them off the dock for 30, 60 and 90 days (I think) and use them as exhibits for AIS education here in New Mexico. It is amazing how quickly they grow in the 30, 60 and 90 day periods. I'll try and get some pictures.

My wife gets really upset seeing them, (she grew up at lake Powell). When we retire, she wants to get a pressure washer on the boat and clean the walls while we are out fishing! lol


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I thought the same thing during our September trip. I am pretty sure that it just had to do with the water wasn't receding that quickly.

Told my father that this likely was the last trip that he would not see the mussels. Truly sad. :(
Serenity went in June and came out in November in 2016, and I was very disappointed in the mussel growth I saw over that short period. She went in March this year and just came out in November and, as @Randy Helzer noted, the growth this year was lighter than previously seen. They were still there to be sure, but not as many as in 2016. I've been wondering if algae growth might inhibit the mussel's ability to adhere to the hull. I'm wondering if launching earlier allowed a little algae to build up before the villagers were extremely active in the Spring and Summer.

It's completely conjecture, but I often go by my parents old houseboat, which I don't think has been hauled out since they sold their share in the early 90s, and see no evidence of mussels, but there's plenty of algae thick on the bottom such that I wondered how mussels would get a hold.

I agree that the lack of mussels on other structures is probably due to the higher water levels. I recall reading that water temperatures in the 80s and above are not conducive to mussel growth, which probably kept growth down at the surface, but I worry they're dense when you get a little deeper. Hopefully the water level keeps trending upwards next season.
We have pulled out a dozen houseboats this fall and they have very few mussels on them, not like last year when there were carpets of them on every boat. I shared this info with NPS but they cannot explain the lack of mussels.
We fished the Hite area over Thanksgiving weekend. The water is now receding but we did see some new live mussels near the water line at 4-mile canyon, but not many. and quite a few dead ones.
However there are some on the bottom apparently, as the picture shows. This one came up on my spoon after I had dropped it to the lake bottom around the mouth of White canyon in the main channel. I think it was around 50-60 feet deep.
Wow...mussels that far North sure would seem like they would have had to be introduced by boats launching up that way without getting inspections. I know plenty of fisherman go up that way, but not nearly as many boats are that far north. Who knows though.
The mussels were there this spring. They spread very fast through the whole lake. Besides a very short window last year, hite has not been usable so I doubt it because of the boats launching there. We saw them everywhere this spring except in white and Farley canyons. My guess is because this is where the river hit lake Powell and the mussels have a hard time fighting the current.
They are still there now. I saw them just a couple weeks ago you just have to look a little deeper. They are covering every rock in the shady spots. They don't like the sun
Wow...mussels that far North sure would seem like they would have had to be introduced by boats launching up that way without getting inspections. I know plenty of fisherman go up that way, but not nearly as many boats are that far north. Who knows though.

The real problem is the high rate of reproduction. Each mussel has the ability to produce 1 million offspring each year. The offspring (veligers) then drift in the lake for 3 weeks or more until they are large enough to "settle". After they attach then they grow for a season until big enough to reproduce and then each new mussel produces another million offspring. I was surprised to see the mussels moving upstream from Wahweap but then realized that the wind can push the veligers to and fro just as it does plankton.

The uplake areas of Lake Powell were doomed for infestation after the first mussels were released in the lake by unknowing boaters with hitchhikers on their boat. Luckily the river current is strong enough to prevent mussels from heading up river.
We moved our boat from wahweap to Bullfrog this year. When we pulled out at the end of last season, the entire bottom of the boat was covered in mussels, just a carpet of them. This year when we pulled out at bullfrog being in the water from mid-june until mid October there were a few mussels but nothing like there was last year.
The Department of Interior under Secretary Zinke is taking an active interest in the Mussel issue....... wouldn't this have been nice 8 or so years ago before Lake Powell was infested.

Feds flexing against mussels
Meeting could represent new approach on invasive quaggas
  • By BRANDON MESSICK Today’s News-Herald
  • Dec 10, 2017 Updated 11 hrs ago

The development of a containment strategy for the invasive quagga mussel has been identified as a top priority for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

A meeting held in Lake Havasu City last week might be the first step in the development of such a plan.
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