It's interesting that purchasers of Minnesota cabins or lakeshore homes often make decisions whether to buy or not — and what to buy — based on the lot and structure, and less so on the lake.

But in fact, consideration of a lake's particulars is crucial, not only to understanding which fish and other critters live in it, but also to appreciate whether the new property might rise in value over time, or, conversely, fall in value.

The state's problems with invasive species such as Asian carp and zebra mussels make the point. Both potentially affect rivers and lakes, sometimes in ways that are not yet fully understood. Lakeshore buyers should understand this, and investigate its possible consequences on the lake for recreation, including fishing.

A step in the direction of becoming better educated is available at the DNR State Fair Building this year, where fish tanks display typical waters and fish species from different parts of the state.

These include a northern Minnesota lake tank, a central Minnesota tank, a southwestern Minnesota tank, and tanks each from southeastern Minnesota trout streams and warm-cool water large rivers, such as the Mississippi.

Each plays host to a variety of fish, some of which overlap in waters throughout the state. But some others don't.

To my mind, understanding these lake and river types, and basing lake home or cabin purchase decisions on these understandings, should be the first consideration made by prospective buyers, and lot size and type, and structure size and type, should follow.







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