Anglers, boaters: Watch for zebra mussels

Game and Fish is closely monitoring Wyoming’s waters for mussels

4/26/2021 8:21:17 PM

Cheyenne - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking anglers, boaters and other Wyoming water recreationists to be on the lookout for zebra mussels across the state in all lakes, streams, rivers and reservoirs. Game and Fish is closely monitoring Wyoming’s waters for mussels, after the aquatic invasive species (AIS) was discovered in Wyoming on moss balls, a popular aquarium plant. Anything unusual should be reported to Game and Fish. 

“We’re very concerned about the spread of invasive zebra mussels to our natural waters,” said Josh Leonard, Game and Fish AIS coordinator. “We’re doing all we can to monitor the presence of zebra mussels in Wyoming, so please don’t be afraid to contact us if you notice anything strange while out this spring and summer.”

Here’s what to look for:

  • Zebra mussels have a distinct triangular shape that allows them to sit flat against a solid surface, and black, zigzag stripes. 
  • They are able to attach to almost any hard surface such as boats, pipes, fish tanks, irrigation systems and more. They build upon each other and can encrust objects quickly. 
  • Zebra mussels grow to around 2-inches long at most, and are microscopic in their larval stage, which is known as a “veliger.”

If you see a zebra mussel, contact the local Game and Fish office or report the sighting anonymously through the Stop Poaching hotline. Make sure to note the specific location and, if  possible, take photos for verification. 

Once a population of zebra mussels establishes in a water body, there is very little to be done to remove them. Prevention, therefore, is the best way to keep a water body clean of zebra mussels. Boaters and other water recreationists can help prevent the spread of AIS by following Clean, Drain and Dry procedures for the boats and other equipment. 

As usual, Game and Fish has AIS boater check stations across the state this summer at docks to inspect boats for AIS, and if mussels or other AIS are found, decontaminate the boat. All boaters who come upon a checkstation are required to stop. 

For the most recent and up to date information on Wyoming AIS visit the Game and Fish website and the Moss Ball webpage

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