Invasive Aquatic: Hydrilla

This is Passport to Texas

At first glance, hydrilla—an exotic aquatic plant—seems beneficial to large mouth bass.

08—The hydrilla acts just as a habitat, refuge, cover for the bass. And so they’ll hide out in that, waiting for a bait to come by.

John Wedig is a supervisor of aquatic sciences at the Lower Colorado River Authority. He says many fishermen use hydrilla to their advantage.

07—The fishermen realize that [the way bass wait for bait], and now they mimic or imitate that bait with their lure and it improves their chances of catching a bass.

But the fun and games don’t last. Hydrilla is an invasive species, and if it’s not controlled, it can grow into a thick mat that becomes detrimental to fish and frustrating to fishermen.

16—That’s what we actually experienced on Lake Bastrop years ago, where we had a 900 acre lake with about 600 acres of hydrilla in it. And so there was so much cover, they [the bass] couldn’t get to their food fish. So we actually had what was referred to as “skinny bass.”

Hydrilla has been controlled in many lakes using chemical herbicides and even grass carp.

But Earl Chilton, a Texas parks and Wildlife aquatic habitat enhancement director, says fighting hydrilla will be an ongoing battle, and complete elimination is highly unlikely.

11—Hydrilla produces tubers. They’re potato like structures that can remain dormant in the sediments for years, sometimes over a decade. So when you think you’ve got it under control, these things are sitting down there waiting to come back.

The Sport Fish and Wildlife restoration Program supports our series…and funds habitat research and restoration in Texas. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

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