With the recent disturbing discovery of zebra mussels in Prior Lake, anglers heading out for the fishing opener this weekend should be ultra-cautious about avoiding spreading these aquatic hitchhikers.
Because zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil can have major impacts on lakes and their fisheries. The fear is that boaters and anglers on Prior could spread the invasive species to other lakes they visit.
The DNR offers these tips:
• Clean all aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other aquatic animals from boats and trailers before leaving the water access.
• Drain water from bilges, live wells, and bait containers before leaving the water access.
• Dry boats and equipment for five days, or spray with high pressure and hot water before transporting to another lake or river.
Also, make sure you dump unwanted live bait, including worms and minnows, in the trash rather than in the lakes and woods.
Last year, DNR biologists found 12 additional waters infested with Eurasian watermilfoil, bringing the total number of infested water bodies in the state to 215.
Inland waters known to be infested with zebra mussels include Lake Ossawinnamakee and Rice Lake near Brainerd; Lake Mille Lacs; Prior Lake; Charlie, Pleasant, Sucker, Vadnais in Ramsey County; and Lake Zumbro north of Rochester. The Mississippi River from its confluence with the Pine River down to the Iowa border is also on the infested waters list.
It was a sad turkey hunting season for me near Red Wing over the weekend. We just didn't see or even hear a lot of birds. In fact, I never did see a bird. My buddy spotted five one afternoon. We heard just one shot in the valley we hunted, too, so we don't think our incompetence was entirely to blame. And it's always fun to get out, regardless. But where are all the birds that I hear about in the reports? According to harvest numbers, it looks like it will be another record harvest -- without my contributions. I'll update harvest numbers in my Sunday Outdoors Almanac.