During a small window of time when invasive water hyacinth plants (Eichhornia crassipes) are dispersed, mats can be punched with heavy punch baits; however once plants form dense colonies, fishing them can be nearly impossible.
Spring—Native to the tropics, water hyacinth rarely overwinters in TVA system to continue growth in spring. Most often, new plants are a result of aquarium dumps in summer. Water hyacinth is seldom present in spring.
Summer—One of the fastest-growing plants known, water hyacinth will rapidly grow and expand in size, producing new plants resulting in large floating colonies. Rapid growth of water hyacinth makes fishing difficult. During a small window of time when plants are dispersed, mats can be punched with heavy punch baits; however once plants form dense colonies, fishing them can be nearly impossible. Colony edges offer the most productive fishing during summer. Use any heavy flipping bait to work the holes found on the outside of water hyacinth colonies.
Fall—As winter approaches, water hyacinth will slow growth and new plant production. As plants begin to decay in late fall, holes can be fished with punch baits within the once-dense colonies.
Winter—Water hyacinth will only be present as dormant seed in the winter, therefore targeting this species should be avoided. In mild winters, water hyacinth seed may remain viable to produce new plants in the spring.
Fish—Water hyacinth can falsely be believed to be great fish habitat; however the rapid and aggressive growth of the plant can produce biological wastelands. It’s dense colonies will shade out more desirable native species that can provide critical submersed structure. Fish will often congregate on the edges of these colonies where ambushing prey is more easily achieved.
Waterfowl—Any habitat value of water hyacinth to waterfowl is unknown.
What It Looks Like—Water hyacinth is a free-floating plant that can grow as tall as three feet. Leaves are circular and born from bulbous stalks attached to large, often dark-purplish roots.
Where to Find It—This plant prefers quiet backwater areas but will travel almost anywhere dependent on wind direction and current.
Similar Species—Water hyacinth is often confused with frog’s bit; however hyacinth stalks are bulbous in appearance whereas frog’s bit stems are slender. Hyacinth also has a large, purplish root mass whereas frog’s bit roots are white.
Water hyacinth is a major problem throughout much of the southern United States. Large colonies have completely halted water use. Management of the plant can be very difficult as the plant can spread via seed or fragmentation. 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.