Large number of zebra mussels found in Waurika lake.

Large number of zebra mussels found in Waurika lake.

WAURIKA, OK (KSWO) -After sampling fish at Waurika Lake, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife says the Zebra Mussel population is booming.

Zebra mussels are small animals that attach to solid surfaces in water. They reproduce very quickly, can clog waterways and even cut swimmers or anglers.

Jacob Sessums is like many Southwest Oklahoma families...loves the outdoors and fishing. But, it wasn't until this past summer that he severely scraped his arm on something he had never seen or heard of before.

"We were noodling,' said Sessums. "We went several places in the lake and there was only one place we found zebra mussels but there was a rocky point that every rock in there was covered with them. You stick your arm under them and it's like a razor blade cutting your arm. They're sharp."

That's one of the reasons the Department of Wildlife goes around to area lakes and takes fish samples... to test the water, make sure there are no issues and see how healthy the species are.

The biologists found a large number of these zebra mussels just last week while out sampling at Waurika Lake.

"It's definitely a concern," said Sessums. "It's a pain to cut your hand and arm up every time you go noodling. Especially a lot of people have kids swimming all over the lake and there's rocks all over it and you're going to have to put your kids in water shoes every time they get in the lake if they're all over it now."

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife says the best ways to stop the mussels from spreading is for anglers to wash their boats, fishing equipment and trailers before going to a new lake.

Sessums hopes everyone does their part in taking care of our lakes.

"There are a lot of people who do enjoy noodling and it kind of ruins it when all the rocks are covered in zebra mussels that will cut you up, so hopefully people take it seriously and do their best not to spread them," said Sessums.

Fish Biologist also say the mussels could be a huge problem several cities in Southwest Oklahoma because they pump water into their lakes from Waurika.
The mussels will clog drains which could lead to costly repairs.

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