Be an invasive species fighter! Clean, drain, dry your boat

Today’s post comes from our friends at the Invasive Species Centre.

Ontario is home to wonderful lakes, rivers, and streams. Unfortunately, some of these waterways are home to aquatic invasive species such as Zebra or Quagga Mussels.

These species can be spread from one waterbody to another through watercraft that have not been properly cleaned, drained, and dried between uses.

The microscopic forms of these mussels, called veligers, can survive in a watercraft’s standing water for weeks. If this standing water mixes with water in the waterbody you are boating on, that waterbody may potentially become infested.

There are four simple steps to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and diseases:


People unloading a canoe at a portage entrance.

Clean and inspect your watercraft, trailer and gear.

Remove all mud, sand, and plant materials before leaving the shore.

Rinse, scrub or pressure wash your boat, kayak, stand up paddleboard, or canoe away from storm drains, ditches, or waterways.


people stand up paddleboarding and paddling in canoe

On land, before leaving the waterbody, drain all water from: bait buckets, ballasts, bilges, coolers, internal compartments, livewells, and non-motorized watercraft by inverting or tilting the watercraft, opening compartments and removing seats if necessary.


boat at boat launch

Dry the watercraft and gear completely between trips and allow the wet areas of your boat to air dry and leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.

Bait responsibly!

As of 2022, Ontario has implemented baitfish rules to protect our lakes and rivers from harmful invasive species.

This work includes establishing new Bait Management Zones. You are permitted to use baitfish and leeches from within the zone where you are fishing.

If you are fishing outside the zone where you live:

Do not transport baitfish and leeches between zones!

In some areas of Ontario, you cannot use or possess live bait of any kind. To check the rules in your planned fishing area, read the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary.

Learn more about these unwanted invasive fish, invertebrates and aquatic plants and how you can help shut them out of Ontario’s parks and protected areas at the Invasive Species Centre.