Record lows helping get rid of Giant salvinia in NWLA lakes

Updated: Jan. 22, 2018 at 10:50 PM CST
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(Source: Nick Lawton, KSLA)
(Source: Nick Lawton, KSLA)
Caddo Lake (Source: KSLA)
Caddo Lake (Source: KSLA)

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - The growing problem of Giant salvinia in Northwest Louisiana lakes is starting to see some improvement ... at least for now.

"It's getting better and better; the cold killed a lot of it," Caddo Parish fisherman Willie Cain said.

Fishing along Caddo Lake in Shreveport, he says he caught 40 white perch.

It's a feat Cain says was made much easier now that the green monster known as Giant salvinia has disappeared for the most part.

Salvinia is an aquatic fern native to southeastern Brazil

"It was bad, bad, bad, bad. It would keep your motor clogged up, you cant get out. It was just tough," said Cain.

In the past, biologists have used tiny black insects called weevils to help clear the waterways.

But when the cold weather came, it would only kill the weevil and not the salvinia.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents say this year's record-breaking low temperatures got rid of both.

"Giant salvinia being the biggest aquatic nuisance plant that we have ... it is a tropical plant so it does not do very well in cold weather. Our recent freezes since the beginning of the year are going to knock salvinia way back."

Wildlife and Fisheries biologist manager Jeff Sibley says the salvinia will start to turn brown before it sinks to the bottom of the lake.

The frigid cold's impact is giving agents some wiggle room to focus on other things.

"Just having a reprieve on that, it's going to allow us to use some money on some other problems that exist out there," Sibley said.

Cain says he's prepping his fresh catch for game day.

"We're going to have a big family Super Bowl party. Two weeks about 30 people, we'll need plenty of fish."

Experts say they expect lakes such as Caddo Lake and Wallace Lake to be mostly clear by spring.

On Monday, KSLA News 12 crews saw fishermen already taking part of the largely salvinia-free Caddo Lake.

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