Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sea Lamprey Still a Great Lakes Problem

The sea lamprey entered and spread through the Great Lakes with the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal in the late-1940's/early 1950's.  These prehistoric creatures attach to a host fish, then literally chew through skin and scales to slowly drain the host body of blood and other body fluids.  They caused the near extinction of native lake trout populations once they entered the lakes and the effects are still felt today.  Spawning tributaries are treated periodically with lamprecides by U.S. Fish and Wildlife in an ongoing effort to keep lamprey populations in check.

My buddy, Bob Fout, landed this steelhead in Conneaut Creekd last month with sea lamprey firmly attached.  Despite an active fight with 4 jumps, the lamprey did not budge and was only removed by hand prior to the fish being released.

A recent episode of TV's "River Monsters" showed that sea lamprey have also entered Lake Champlain and are attaching themselves to long distance swimmers.  Now that is just plain creepy!


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