Keep new aquatic invasive species out of your favorite body of water by taking these important steps...

Wisconsin Sea Grant Boat Launch Inspector Nina Paavola (right) talks with Great Lakes boaters.

Credit: Phil Moy, Wisconsin Sea Grant

A fish infected with viral hemorrhagic septicemia.

Credit: Cornell University

Inspect your boat and equipment and remove all aquatic plants from your trailer, propeller, anchor--anywhere they might be.

Remove any visible plants, fish, animals or mud. Immature forms of animals, such as larval zebra mussels, can live in mud, dirt or sand. Some invasive plants can produce an entire new colony from a single strand barely two inches long.

Drain all the water from the boat, motor, bilge, live wells and bait wells.

Dispose of leftover bait in a trash receptacle, not in the water.

Rinse your boat and all of your fishing equipment with hot (104 degrees or higher) tap water, OR thoroughly dry your boat and your fishing equipment--leave them outside in the sun for five days--before going to new waters.

Additionally, you can fight the spread of the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), which is an invasive pathogen leading to fish illness and sometimes death. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has put these rules in place:

  •  Minnow harvesting of any kind is not allowed on any VHS affected waters: Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, the Mississippi River, Lake Winnebago, Fox River from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay, and all connecting waters upstream to the first barrier impassible to fish.
  • Anglers and boaters must drain all water from the fishing and boating equipment when leaving the lake or entering the state (except drinking water and a small amount of water to move minnows as described below).
  • Anglers statewide may not move live fish or fish eggs away from any water except minnows they bought from a registered Wisconsin bait dealer and used under certain conditions. Such leftover minnows can be used again on the same water, or can be used elsewhere if the angler did not add lake or river water or other fish to their bait container.