February 26, 2012

Invasive species control could inhibit anglers

Efforts last fall to eradicate the Asian clam from Lake George have been deemed successful. Now the concern among stakeholders on lakes throughout the North Country turns to prevention.

And anglers and boaters of all types had better pay attention to what is being discussed concerning Lake George, because the outcome could be the blueprint for other bodies of water.

In an effort to promote public awareness about invasive species, lake stewards have been present at a few boat launches on Lake George. However, recent news reports stating that public boat launch sites could be gated when lake inspection stewards are not present has some sportsmen up in arms.

This is just one possible future component of the Invasive Species Committee of the Lake George Park Commission to ensure that boats coming into the lake aren't carrying invasives. Others include mandatory boat washing stations that will cost boaters both money and time. But sportsmen feel that gated boat launches could really hamper their interests.

"How many fishermen go fishing between 8 and 5?" asked Walt Kendall, president of the Lake George Fishing Alliance (LGFA). "We don't want the invasives in the lake. All boaters need to be educated about it. But at the same time we want access to the lake 24/7. We can't have gates."

Controlling invasives in any body of water, not just Lake George, raises many questions.

"What about canoes, kayaks, float-tubes and even waterfowl?" asked Bill Pike, who is also a member of the LGFA. Pike is also a deer hunter who uses the lake early in the morning, much like waterfowl hunters who have also questioned the possible regulations.

"I like the lake steward program. I think it's an excellent program," said Kendall of the current program.

But he also questioned the wash stations.

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