A Laramie snorkeler discovered invasive New Zealand Mudsnails at the popular trophy fishing spot Alsop Lake. 

This week, Wyoming Game and Fish said they were alerted by Laramie resident Jenny Loveridge, who said she noticed tiny snails covering the vegetation in the lake. 

Loveridge has been snorkeling in the lake since moving to the Gem City in 2016 and said she’d never seen snails like that before. “They were everywhere,” she said. “I thought, this has got to be a problem, so I reported my observation to Game and Fish.”

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The WGF said New Zealand mudsnails are a concerning aquatic invasive species in the state,  with the ability to clone and reach astounding densities as high as 300,000 snails per square meter; due to subsequent surveys, WGF believes this population became established within the last few years. 

Alsop Lake is one of only three lakes in the state to contain mudsnails, though several Wyoming rivers have established populations. The Laramie Plains Lakes are unusual in their water chemistry, so WGF said it’s difficult to predict the impacts the invasive snails may have on the lake. 

In other instances, the mudsnails have outcompeted native nails and invertebrates, and can therefore impact trout’s ability to feed and grow. 

Fishing gear is one potential cause of the mudsnails in Alsop; as the snails are tiny, they are easily transported to new locations without notice. 

WGF asks recreationists to not “lake hop” from Alsop to other systems to minimize the chances of the invasive snails infiltrating other waters. The agency also reminds people to clean, drain, and dry their gear for a minimum of 10 days, freeze gear overnight, or spray, soak, or treat gear.

For a full list of gear treatment options to prevent further snail invasion, visit the WGF news release here. 

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