will fight water fleas
By Ralph Ansami
Ironwood Daily Globe
Now that spiny water fleas have been discovered in the
Gile Flowage, it's important that boaters not spread the
invaders to other inland lakes.
The Department of Natural Resources will schedule a public
meeting in the Hurley area to address the invasion of
the water fleas, said Cathy Techtmann, of Pence.
Techtmann, a former Iron County Extension resource agent
who now works for the Great Lakes visitor center in Ashland,
is one of the prime forces in forming a "Friends
of the Gile Flowage" association.
"This kind of caught everybody by surprise,"
Techtmann said this morning. She noted her group feared
the spread of other exotics, such as European milfoil,
but wasn't aware of the water fleas.
She has been in contact with the DNR, which has already
placed yellow signs at landings on the flowage, warning
boaters not to spread the fleas into other inland waters.
"The concern now is to keep them from being transported
to other lakes," Techtmann emphasized.
Pieter Johnson, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate
student, discovered the fleas in the flowage. They may
have spread from Lake Superior.
Techtmann said the fleas have been showing up in Lake
Superior in jelly-like masses on fishing lines.
The fleas, like other intruders, can be spread from lake
to lake in bait buckets, boats' live wells and bilges
They have been living in the Great Lakes for more than
15 years, but had not before been found in Wisconsin's
Biologists say the fleas compete with and eat native
zooplankton -- the food of young sport fish like walleye
The Gile Flowage is noted for its walleye fishing and
in the past decade, the smallmouth bass population has
Techtmann noted the impact of the half-inch long flea
on the food chain is not yet known, but biologists believe
it could impact gamefish populations.
The spiny flea reproduces rapidly.