DNR confirms zebra mussel larvae in Lake of the Woods

Zebra mussels Photo: KSTP
Zebra mussels

Updated: November 08, 2019 03:24 PM

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed zebra mussel larvae in water samples taken from Lake of the Woods. While no adult or juvenile mussels have been reported, the department said the number of larvae is substantial.

The DNR said Lake of the Woods will be added to the infested waters list for zebra mussels, and agencies will continue to monitor the lake.


The 70-mile long and wide lake is the sixth largest freshwater lake in the U.S. after the five Great Lakes, although most of Lake of the Woods is in the Canadian Province of Ontario.

Boaters are reminded to follow the same "Clean, Drain, Dispose" steps that are legally required on all Minnesota bodies of water, and noted that it's especially important to follow state law and keep docks and boat lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them in another body of water.

The DNR recommended the following steps for lake property owners:

  • Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.
  • Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota's aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.

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, and
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access, the DNR said. 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.

You should contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if you think you've found zebra mussels or any other invasive species. 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.

You can find more information at

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