Zebra mussel larvae found in big, popular Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: January 31, 2013 - 8:12 PM

At a previous news conference, DNR officials showed this example of zebra mussels clustered on a small tree branch that had fallen into Rice Lake near Brainerd.

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Invasive zebra mussels have likely established a breeding population in northern Minnesota's Lake Winnibigoshish that could spread down the Mississippi River, the Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday.

Officials have not yet found adult zebra mussels in the popular fishing lake, but two microscopic zebra mussel larvae, called veligers, were found in a water sample collected from the middle of the lake in mid-July, DNR officials told reporters. Fourteen other samples turned up no additional larvae, but DNR research scientist Gary Montz said the most likely explanation for the discovery is that adults are reproducing somewhere in the lake.

There's only a slight possibility that the veligers were accidentally dumped from a contaminated bait bucket or boat, Montz said. Given the small size of the sample and the immensity of the lake — Minnesota's fourth largest — the chance that they were released and then caught is remote, he said.

It's difficult to predict how fast the population will grow or how it will affect the lake's walleyes, northern pike, perch and other fish species, Montz said. Zebra mussel populations have grown quickly in some Minnesota lakes, but slowly in others.

Assuming the population builds, he said, eventually enough veligers will flow out of the lake that they could establish populations in other lakes and backwaters down the Mississippi as far as Brainerd, where they're already entrenched.

The DNR declared Winnibigoshish infested because of the threat. DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen said the agency will develop a boat inspection plan to try to stop zebra mussels from catching rides to other lakes, which is the main way they spread.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.


St. Louis - J. Kelly 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Arizona - W. Miley 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - A. Simon
Boston - J. Lester 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - D. Price
San Diego - J. Hahn 6:35 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Oakland - J. Hammel 7:05 PM
Texas - J. Williams
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Miami - B. Hand 7:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Correia
Cleveland - J. Tomlin 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Pittsburgh - C. Morton 7:40 PM
Colorado - B. Anderson
Detroit - D. Smyly 9:05 PM
LA Angels - T. Skaggs
Baltimore - K. Gausman 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Lincecum
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Tulsa 6:00 PM
Chicago 6:30 PM
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question