Arkansas Game and Fish
Thanks to the watchful eye of marina operators at Cricket Creek Marina on Table Rock Lake, a boat carrying invasive zebra mussels was prevented from launching and spreading these harmful nonnative mollusks into the lake.
The incident occurred May 24, when a houseboat was being moved into Table Rock Lake from Bull Shoals Lake. The marina operator stopped the vessel from launching after observing zebra mussels attached to the boat. The marina operator quickly notified an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission enforcement officer, who informed the boat hauler the vessel transported from Bull Shoals Lake could not be launched into Table Rock Lake until it was cleaned, allowed to dry for 10 days and passed a thorough inspection. Cricket Creek Marina is in a small Arkansas portion of Table Rock Lake.
The houseboat transporter also was issued a citation for the illegal transport of zebra mussels. On June 3, fisheries biologists with the Missouri Department of Conservation and Game and Fish completed a comprehensive inspection before approving the boat’s launch into Table Rock Lake.
The first confirmed discovery of zebra mussels in north-central Arkansas occurred in 2007 in Bull Shoals Lake near Lead Hill. Although zebra mussels are now prevalent in Bull Shoals Lake, there has been no official documentation of them in Beaver, Greers Ferry, Norfork or Table Rock lakes.
Other locations where zebra mussels have been documented include the Arkansas, Mississippi, St. Francis and lower White River, below Bull Shoals Lake in the White River, Plum Bayou and Bayou Meto.
Game and Fish has some easy to remember recommendations boaters should follow to reduce the risk of transporting zebra mussels from infested waters: Clean, drain and dry your boat, motor and trailer. First, remove all drain plugs from your vessel at the boat ramp and allow all water to drain from the vessel.
This requirement became law in 2020.
Second, inspect your boat, livewell, trailer and motor and remove all debris, mud and vegetation.
If possible, boat owners should wash their boats and trailers with high-pressure hot water.
Finally, clean all livewells, bilge pumps, ballast tanks and other areas that hold or pump water in addition to exterior surfaces. Once completed, allow the boat and trailer to dry. These few steps will help ensure other water bodies don’t become infested with zebra mussels.