A new way of combating invasive smelt is meeting with mixed success – literally – at the end of a two-year study. The Crystal Lake Mixing Project was able to get rid of most of the smelt in Crystal Lake…but not all of it.
The mixing project began two years ago at the University of Wisconsin Madison’s Trout Lake Station. Its main goal was to stir up the layers of Crystal Lake, warming the bottom and making it inhospitable for cold-water-loving smelt, which were harming native populations of walleye and yellow perch.
If you frequent lakes in the Northwoods, you know that invasive species are a big problem. Take rainbow smelt – the tiny fish are known for outcompeting native fish and devouring their young. Once rainbow smelt get into a lake, it can be all but impossible to get rid of. Some approaches rely on chemicals that wipe out all fish species. But one project out of UW’s Trout Lake Research Station is experimenting with a new technique that could have many fewer side effects than the chemical method.