Lake Michigan boaters cautioned about
Published July 11th, 2004
State biologists report a new exotic water flea that out-competes
young fish for food is poised to invade Wisconsin’s inland
Spiny and fish hook water fleas are among several invasive
species in Lake Michigan that will move inland to colonize
lakes if someone lets them hitch a ride, said Ron Martin
of the state Department of Natural Resources.
Boat owners area advised to be especially careful to
avoid accidentally transporting the invader.
Boats, trailers and equipment should be thoroughly washed
with high-pressure or hot water prior to launching. All
water should be drained from livewell, bilge, motors,
Unused bait should be disposed of in the trash, not thrown
into the water.
Spiny water fleas were discovered in the Gile Flowage
in Iron County last fall, the first time the species has
been documented in inland waters. The exotic flea, which
grows to a length of one quarter to one half inch, entered
the Great Lakes in ship ballast water from Europe in the
1980s. They consume small zooplankton that small fish
need to survive.
No effective strategy exists to control the fleas once
they’ve been introduced into a lake, Martin said.