Zebra Mussels Found in Pike Lake

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated Jul 1, 2009 at 10:25 PM CDT

An aquatic invasive species is on the move again.

For the first time, zebra mussels have been found in an inland lake in Northeastern Minnesota.

Pike Lake has a new, unwelcome resident.

"They can ruin the lake, that's basically it," said Don Elstad, Pike Lake resident.

The DNR says Zebra Mussels have been living in Lake Superior for 20 years. Somewhere along the way, the creatures made their way inland.

"Unfortunately Zebra mussels have moved probably from Lake Superior to our first inland lake in Northeastern Minnesota--Pike Lake," said Doug Jensen of the Minnesota Sea Grant.

Experts say the organisms can choke off food supplies for other species, multiply exponentially and simply create a nuisance.

"Recreationalists can also be impacted when they clog the bottoms of hulls and get into water intakes of boat motors," said Jensen.

Larry Modean lives along Pike Lake and says he didn't realize the aquatic hitchhiker had arrived.

"They hadn't concerned me, because I didn't know they had gotten into this lake," Modean said.

Elstad lives along the lake shore and says the Zebra Mussels will put native species in jeopardy.

"Your fish aren't going to be able to survive," he said.

Before you move your boat from one lake to the next, experts say you need to check your watercraft for a number of species.

"Remove any aquatic plants and any prohibited species from (the) boat motor and trailer," said Jensen

In an effort to tackle the problem, the DNR says they will designate the lake as an infested waterway. The agency plans to up enforcement and boat inspections.

"I'm not sure exactly what they can do about them," said Modean. "I've seen them in Lake Superior and they're something."

As an added precaution, experts say you should avoid moving lifts or docks from one lake to another, unless you have inspected the equipment.