Red Ear Sunfish QM

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birdsnest

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Was reading an article about the apparent increase in the size of the red ear sunfish in California lakes that have quagga muscles because they love eating them.
Are any of our fish eating the qm and is it crazy to consider introducing the red ear sunfish to Powell.
 

wayne gustaveson

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Was reading an article about the apparent increase in the size of the red ear sunfish in California lakes that have quagga muscles because they love eating them.
Are any of our fish eating the qm and is it crazy to consider introducing the red ear sunfish to Powell.

Redear sunfish are an obvious choice to help with the mussel problem in the lake. We completed a fish management plan last year with Redear identified as a possible future lake resident. But there are some bridges to cross before that happens.

We have identified mussels in the stomachs of some Bluegill in the lake. We also see the average size of the BG getting larger and numbers more numerous. Remember that redear will not eliminate mussels only reduce their numbers slightly. We want to watch bluegill for another year or two to see how they perform.

The secondary purpose of a mussel eating fish is to increase the length and breadth of the food chain. Walleye and bass eat young bluegill often and that is an important link in the food chain. Will redear add to that or are bluegill enough? We are looking at that over the next two years and studying food habits of these fish.

The reason for the delay is that fishing success at Lake Havasu has not decreased despite the mussel invasion. There has been a decline in striper fishing at Mead and Mohave, but striper and bass numbers are still acceptable. These lakes were infested 5 years before Lake Powell. That gives us a little wiggle room and study time to make sure we do the right thing.

Please let us take the time to make the right decision. I know someone could stock Lake Powell tomorrow with redear. I ask you not to do that until we prove that redear are needed. I will see that they get stocked if that is the best thing for Lake Powell.

The long term impact is that redear will not save striped bass. If mussels take away the plankton and the shad stripers will follow. Having a redear population will only enhance the inshore fishery of bass and walleye. The open water fishery is the one we are concerned about losing right now.

I hope that helps to understand the mussel infestation challenge better.
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the in depth answer to this difficult situation and I for one would never consider introducing any species into any new environment but I also know there are bone heads out there who would, so hopefully your plea will be heard.
 
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