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Blog > Conservation > New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek

New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/17/2013 (887 reads)
Pennsylvania has gotten hit with some bad news a few times this year about invasive species having a potential negative impaction on some waterways. Earlier in the year we heard about Didymo turning up in Pine Creek and more recently there was news about New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek. Fly fishing is a fun casual sport, but more often than not extra precautions will need to be follow with our gear.

Invasive species generally are plants or animals that are non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem and whose introduction causes harm to the native species. New Zealand mud snails have been detrimental in reducing some western streams productivity. Populations can reach 28,000 snails per square foot. This rapid and expansive growth can compete with native species.

New Zealand mudsnails“Based on studies conducted in western U.S. streams, if the population grows quickly, they could become the dominant organisms in the benthic – or bottom dwelling – community, upon which many others species depend for food,” said Bob Morgan, the PFBC’s ecologist who studies aquatic invasive species. “Because this is the first known occurrence of the New Zealand mudsnail on the Atlantic slope of the eastern U.S, the effects of the snail on higher organisms, such as fish, are not certain at this time.”

Fly fishing anglers will need to take extra precautions in cleaning their gear before leaving Spring Creek and entering another waterway. This is a serious issue without proper measures the situation could get worse in the region.

From the PFBC below and Clean Your Gear:
"New Zealand mudsnails require some specialized disinfection measures. Gear should be visually inspected and any clinging matter should be removed and disposed of in the trash. To kill mudsnails, three methods are effective. Gear can be frozen for a minimum of six hours, or it can be soaked in hot water - 120°F to 140°F - for five minutes. This last method is not recommended for Gortex.

Also, a 2005 study by the California Department of Fish and Game showed that mudsnails can be killed by soaking gear for five minutes in a one-to-one solution of Formula 409® Cleaner Degreaser Disinfectant and water. After soaking gear for five minutes, thoroughly rinse it with plain water. Simply spraying gear with the disinfectant or the mixture does not work. Also, general cleaners have not been shown to be effective against the mudsnail." [see note below]1

These steps in keeping your gear clean are not going to work very well if you are planning to go from Spring Creek and then say Penns Creek in the same day. It has been suggested in the forum that if you spend a lot of time in the Central Pennsylvania area fly fishing and jump from stream to stream frequently, an extra pair of old boots for just Spring Creek may be the way to go for now.

Whatever your plans may be to fish in the region, keep yourself education on these invasive species and take the necessary steps to protect the streams you and many others like to fly fish.

1 Side Note:
There seems to be some conflicting information about the success of using Formula 409® Cleaner Degreaser Disinfectant and water to kill New Zealand mudsnails. Here is the 2005 PDF study by the California Department of Fish and Game and the several sources are reporting that 409 doesn't work. So go figure there is conflict.

So to help I have found another site that offers a few more suggestions on how to deal with eliminating the snails on your gear here. Options look like freezing, completely drying, Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate (which has it's own debate) or my suggestion...buy a set of inexpensive extra gear for Spring Creek.

Sorry about what I thought was serious problem had a simple solution. Wrong again!










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krayfish
Published: 2013/12/17 10:24  Updated: 2013/12/17 10:24
Joined: 05/26/2011
From: Dauphin PA
Comments: 2766
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
How in the hell did they get in there? I'll guess that if they are in Spring, they are in several other streams just haven't been discovered yet.
hunter1
Published: 2013/12/17 11:11  Updated: 2013/12/17 11:11
Joined: 01/16/2012
From: North east ,Maryland
Comments: 101
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
We in Maryland have had a problem with dydimo on the Gun powder and some other streams. Rock snot you just wash your boots at a salt solution station at the stream. Maryland also outlawed felt soles. Extra percuation is needed greatly.
salmonoid
Published: 2013/12/17 12:12  Updated: 2013/12/17 12:12
Joined: 06/19/2007
From: Lancaster County
Comments: 1524
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
I have seen the 409 Cleaner piece repeated just about everywhere. In this case, the PFBC is the party repeating the information. However, it is NOT a cure-all for cleaning your gear. There is a very specific test under certain conditions, using a specific version of the cleaner that the California Department of Fish and Game performed, and under those conditions, it was effective in killing the snails. However, I would caution against putting a lot of faith in the 409 Cleaner solution, as the product used in the study that was somewhat effective is NOT the chemical solution that is available to the general public.

http://www.stopans.org/Formula_409.htm
dkile
Published: 2013/12/17 15:53  Updated: 2013/12/17 15:53
Webmaster
Joined: 09/08/2006
From:
Comments: 4474
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
salmonoid,

Thanks for the heads up. I did some more digging and changed the post, but I suspect there are other ideas out there for us to hear about.
streamerguy
Published: 2013/12/17 17:05  Updated: 2013/12/17 17:05
Joined: 05/09/2011
From: Ohio
Comments: 1114
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
Knew about the mudsnails turning up in Spring, but this is the first I'm hearing about didymo in Fishing Creek. Definitely bad news for both streams..

Anyone have any links? Just did a quick Google search on BFC but didn't find anything regarding didymo.
dkile
Published: 2013/12/18 9:56  Updated: 2013/12/18 9:56
Webmaster
Joined: 09/08/2006
From:
Comments: 4474
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
Screwed that one up and it is Pine Creek and corrected.

You really should check out the Flyline.com post on New Zealand Mud Snail here. I find the issue with Copper Sulfate is a complicated and less reliable procedure. Seems like there isn't a very effective safe chemical process to eliminate the mudsnails.
streamerguy
Published: 2013/12/18 19:03  Updated: 2013/12/18 19:03
Joined: 05/09/2011
From: Ohio
Comments: 1114
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
Gotcha. That's what I thought, wasn't sure if it recently showed up on any other streams.
dkile
Published: 2013/12/18 20:45  Updated: 2013/12/18 20:45
Webmaster
Joined: 09/08/2006
From:
Comments: 4474
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
Thanks for calling it out. I got way too caught up in the mud snail issue and didn't didn't double check my own facts memory. I knew the story broke in July and just screwed up my streams. Enough bad news about all this stuff this year, don't need me adding to it as well.
salmonoid
Published: 2013/12/19 21:11  Updated: 2013/12/19 21:11
Joined: 06/19/2007
From: Lancaster County
Comments: 1524
 Re: New Zealand mudsnails in Spring Creek
I think it's good to get a contextual visual aid on the mud snails. This information page has (at the time I write this) a picture of a dime, along with snails in various stages of development. Interestingly enough, in New Zealand, it is thought that the population is kept in check by a parasitic trematode (small worm), which appears to neuter the snails and keep some of them from reproducing. However, from an ecological perspective, it creates a bit of angst to think about introducing something else to combat an evasive. I think of the story of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.." - she died of course.



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