Free Fishing Competition to Roundup Invasive Species in Local Freshwater Bodies

Fort Myers, FL, April 18, 2019 – The Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) will host its annual Invasive Fish Roundup the weekend of April 26 through 28.

Southwest Florida waterways are home to several non-native and invasive freshwater fish species. Many of these species have a negative impact on the health and populations of our region’s native fish communities. The roundup is intended to raise awareness about the harmful effects of releasing non-native fish species into local waters and to collect data about invasive fish distribution to assist wildlife management professionals with efforts to control these species.

The free three-day competition is designed for teams with one to four anglers per team in both youth and adult categories. Prizes will be awarded in both categories for heaviest invasive fish and highest total net weight of invasive fish caught. Additionally, a grand slam prize will be awarded in both categories for the greatest diversity of invasive species caught. Prizes include chartered fishing trips, rods and reels, tackle boxes and lures, and more. Lures and tackle will also be awarded to the first 50 youth participants.

There is no cost to register. Weigh-in is noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at Bass Pro Shops at Gulf Coast Town Center, 10040 Gulf Center Drive, Fort Myers.

Fishing during the competition is permitted in all legal freshwater fishing areas in Southwest Florida, including Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Participants must follow all state and federal fishing regulations and are asked to track the GPS locations of the invasive fish caught.

Some popular freshwater fishing opportunities at Conservation 20/20 Preserves are:

  • Pop Ash Creek Preserve, 9451 Nalle Grade Road, North Fort Myers.
  • Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve, 17100 McDowell Drive and 10130 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers.
  • Pine Lake Preserve, 12750 E. Terry St., Bonita Springs.

The fish will be donated to feed the wildlife patients at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel, the animals at the Naples Zoo and Shy Wolf Sanctuary.

The event is sponsored by the Southwest Florida CISMA with support from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Lee County Conservation 20/20, Conservation Collier and Bass Pro Shops Gulf Coast Town Center.

Participants must register in advance. To register and for complete competition rules, visit www.floridainvasives.org/southwest/nonnativefishroundup2019.