Curly-leaved Pondweed Angering Local Fishermen As It Spreads Through Pathfinder Reservoir | Open spaces


Christine Peterson for the Star-Tribune

Tom Durst noticed the weed years ago at a place called Walleye Bay in Pathfinder Reservoir. It was green and leafy and it was difficult for him to fish for the walleye that gave the bay its name.

But it wasn’t until recently that he noticed the Curly-leaved Pondweed further north at Pathfinder, on a small strip of submerged sandbar that he always enjoyed fishing. And now he can’t.

“It stops you. This prevents you from fishing the shores. You can’t jig, ”said Durst, a longtime Casper angler and dedicated walleye fisherman.

Worse yet, the weed continues to spread.

The curly-leaved pondweed is another invasive weed that has made its way into Wyoming. When it comes to the hierarchy of invasive species, it’s not as worrying to fisheries managers as, say, zebra or quagga mussels, but it’s a concern, said Matt Hahn, Wyoming regional fisheries supervisor. Game and Fish’s Casper. And that worry grows as the weed continues to spread. What happens when discovered downstream in the Alcova Reservoir, the Gray Reef section of the river, and ultimately the Glendo Reservoir, is difficult to know for sure. But the weed is yet another reminder of how quickly and easily a destructive species can enter water and once there, never be removed.

“The measures we are taking to prevent the introduction of zebra mussels into the state are also effective against other species,” Hahn said. “But it’s important that the people of the state, our local boaters, also understand the risks if they go by boat on Pathfinder and make it to Alcova the next day. They don’t worry about moving zebra mussels, but they could speed up the spread of curly pondweed.

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