Zebra mussels confirmed in Big Pine Lake in Aitkin County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed reports of zebra mussels in Big Pine Lake, just northwest of Mille Lacs Lake in Aitkin County. 

A lake property owner contacted the DNR after finding four adult zebra mussels on docks and boat lifts being removed from the lake for the season. The DNR confirmed zebra mussels at that location and about a half-mile west of the original location. No zebra mussels were found during searches of the nearest public access and near an island on the lake.

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.

People should contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species.

More information is available at mndnr.gov/ais.