In late spring, highly invasive giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta) plants can provide floating mats that can be targeted with flipping baits and jigs.
Spring—Native to the tropics, giant salvinia rarely overwinters in TVA system to continue growth in spring. Most often, new plants are a result of aquarium dumps in summer. In late spring, existing plants can provide floating mats that can be targeted with flipping baits and jigs.
Summer—Will rapidly grow in system while weather is warm. Quickly forming dense colonies, even heavy punching will do little to penetrate within salvinia. Some edge fishing may be available.
Fall—Plants introduced in summer will maximize colonization by vegetative reproduction of new plants. Remaining colonies can be penetrated in late fall as the plants begin to die.
Winter—Preferring warm water, this species will quickly die off in winter. Fishing benefit is negligible during this time.
Fish—Can provide habitat during early introduction but speedy growth and expansion can cause fluctuations in water quality and shade out beneficial submersed species.
Waterfowl—No known food value
What It Looks Like—A floating aquatic fern, giant salvinia can be identified by its floating cupped fronds which often appear hairy.
Where to Find It—This species thrives in calm, backwater areas but will begin to float throughout the reservoir with changing winds and currents.
Similar Species—Very similar to common salvinia, but can be separated by an “egg-beater” shape to hairs within each frond. Common salvinia is somewhat smaller and hairs are “T”-shaped.
Although this species rarely overwinters in TVA systems, it could quickly become one of the most expensive species to manage if the species becomes more tolerant of colder water. Management of giant salvinia in other areas has been extremely expensive. Cost to manage: $$$$$ out of $$$$$.
We're always looking for more information about aquatic plants on TVA reservoirs. Let us know where and what you see, and send us your photos. Email us.