Updated Thurs., 5/24 – The importance of keeping lakes free of aquatic invasive species (AIS) is well understood here in the heart of Wisconsin’s lake country. But Ted Ritter and Michele Sadauskas, Vilas and Oneida County Invasive Species Coordinators, are reminding boaters that AIS means more than non-native weeds.
In addition to removing plant fragments from boats and trailers, boaters are required by law to drain all water from boats before moving overland and to never move live fish away from a waterbody (some exceptions exist for bait fish). The concern with on-board water and live fish is the potential to inadvertently move invisible, but harmful micro-organisms or fish diseases from one waterbody to another.
Not transporting water or live fish can create a dilemma for anglers who wish to keep their catch fresh until they get to where the fish will be cleaned. The solution is to place fish on ice (with no lake water), which are considered out of water and dead and can be transported legally.
For that reason, Sadauskas and Ritter are launching an awareness program in Oneida and Vilas Counties to encourage anglers to take ice with them whenever they anticipate travelling overland with a fresh catch of fish. Posters with a reminder to anglers to “Ice Your Catch” began appearing recently at bait shops, gas station convenience stores, grocery stores and other locations where ice is sold.
Design and printing of the posters were provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
For more information about the program, call Sadauskas at (715) 365-2750 or Ritter at (715) 479-3738.