ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Evidence shows that zebra mussels have made their way to another popular Minnesota lake, this one further north. The DNR says larvae of the invasive species have been discovered in Lake Winnibigoshish.
While not totally unexpected, it is disappointing news, especially considering all the other bodies of water connected to Winnibigoshish.
“Currently the Mississippi River is designated as infested from roughly the Brainerd area south,” said Rich Rezanka, DNR invasive species specialist. “So now potentially, you’ve got that whole entire piece of the river and all the interconnected waterways up to (Winnibigoshish) that may someday also be infested.”
The larvae were discovered in a sampling that was taken in mid-July near the middle of the 58,544-acre lake.
Rezanka said although no adult zebra mussels were found, it’s safe to assume there is a growing population in Lake Winnibigoshish, which is Minnesota’s fourth largest body of water.
While it’s not good news, Rezanka said it should serve as a reminder for anglers and boaters to be vigilant to protect against the further spread of the mussels.
“People just shouldn’t just throw their hands up and say, ‘Oh well, all is lost, Winni’s been infested,'” Rezanka said. “Especially now, make sure you’re following the rules and laws. Drain your equipment and clean your stuff before you move it.”