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:eek:Sorry for the title, but I wanted your attention. :eek:

While the fog and rain choked the Springs yesterday I broke out of the office and headed up to 11 Mile Canyon. The weather broke around Woodland Park and it was partly cloudy and around 50 in the canyon. The fish cooperated too.

Around 5PM I was fishing at the flat water just above the narrows beyond the double tunnel when I heard some pounding in the vicinity of my vehicle. After 5 minutes a CDOW truck drove by and a DOW person stepped out to talk to me. He called me over to the other shore (spooked the pool) to introduce himself as the aquatic biologist that was in charge of the South Platte (I forgot his name) and to tell me something he just discovered.

It turns out that the Canyon (specifically the upper canyon) has been hit with New Zealand mud snails. At first I thought he was joking, trying to tell me that the Canyon would be closed to fisherman to protect these snails, kind of like the Prebles Meadow Mouse. Instead it was just the opposite!! These things are taking over the upper canyon! He knelt down, scooped up a handful of what I thought was algae, and had me look at it. It had to be 1000 snails in his hand! They're black, about the size of 5-10 grains of sand, and very, very hard. When the trout eat them they pass they only succeed in digesting about half of them because of the hardness of the shell. The rest pass through the tract and continue their snail lives. He said that once they establish themselves they can be as dense as 800,000 per square meter (no typo!). The tragic part is that they can devastate the vegetation which, in turn, kills the habitat for the aquatic insects. You get the picture - it ain't pretty. "So what's the plan?", I asked. Nothing yet except an appeal to fisherman so that other waters don't get polluted.

Apparently these snails will attach themselves to your boots (no surprise there) and as he spoke to me I looked at mine and had about 100 over the tops of them. He asked that we either freeze our boots after every trip into the Canyon or put them in hot water (over 90 degrees) for over 20 minutes. The problem is that it onlytakes one snail to make a million. I continued fishing downstream and did not see any in the backwaters by the tunnels but they will be making their appearance there soon, no doubt.

I haven't researched this completely but just wanted to get the word out. I'm going to cooperate and freeze the boots I wore yesterday and then just use an old pair exclusively for fishing in 11 Mile Canyon. Not sure what more we can do.

Here's the main link that the DOW refers us to learn more about this infestation. Anybody know the effect of this creature in other habitats such as the Madison River in Montana or Boulder Creek in Colorado?

_Colorado
 

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Got a question-not doubting this info but we have these in the Colorado drainage and some other rivers. Also, they've been in the Snake system in Idaho since the late 80's. These areas still have trout, don't they? If they get into a river system,is it really the end for fishing in that area? Just curious. Ed
 

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Well, they have been closing the waters that they have been found in. But 11 mile canyon is very very popular which means just about every fly fishing water in Colorado is now infected with these things I'm willing to bet.
Another method of getting rid of the snail:
Many discoveries of snails in North America have been associated with popular fly fishing streams so all anglers are being encouraged to take strong measures to clean their equipment, especially boots and waders. Submerging in a 50-50 solution of FORMULA 409® cleaner for 5-to-10 minutes will help prevent further spread of this pest,? said Knox. ?The DOW will be evaluating its public education program, and will try to boost public awareness not only for New Zealand mud snails, but also for other invasive species.
http://www.coloradofisherman.com/forum/index.php?topic=865.0
 

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Its my understanding that NZ mudsnails do not kill fish. However, they do pollute and weaken the entire ecosystem as the snails consume aquatic vegetation needed for other organisms. Nothing kills them except a parasite found only in New Zealand.

Yellowstone has been trying to deal with these things for a while with almost no success.

This has me ultra paranoid everytime I fish (anywhere). I have to wipe down my gear with formula 409 going over every inch twice. This also eliminates any thought of me jumping from one river or stream to the next.

First whirling disease, now this....ugh!
 

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Will salt kill NZ mud snails? What about keeping your boots in a 5 gallon bucket of salt water for a day, then washing them off in fresh water? I would think that salt would have the same effect on the NZ snails too. It would be a lot easier than 409 or freezing the boots.

Any comments on this idea?
 

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_colorado said:
Will salt kill NZ mud snails?  What about keeping your boots in a 5 gallon bucket of salt water for a day, then washing them off in fresh water?  I would think that salt would have the same effect on the NZ snails too.  It would be a lot easier than 409 or freezing the boots.

Any comments on this idea?
The soaking waders in hot water is not too much of a hassel, I think.
 

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I do not think they will cause as big of harm as feared. Not to say they aren't a problem though. However closing waters to fishing is not the answer. Anglers just need to clean waders if they fish waters that have these snails.
 

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I know for a fact soaking your waders in diesel fuel for a week will do the trick. ;D This being said I also have ran across this in Yellowstone and I havent seen a drop off in the fishing. i Imagine like whirling they will figure a way to solve this problem in due time.....


Fish
 

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With the popularity of 11 mile canyon it was only a matter of time. Hopefully there will be a way to control them "after" they are in a body of water. To my knowledge there really isn't.
 

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Whirling disease severely damaged the gunnison river. I don't think these mud snails will cause anything close to that.
 
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