« The Great Outdoors

Bad week for Minnesota lakes: Zebra mussels found in Lake Latoka near Alexandria

by Mike McFeely

Here is a portion of a press release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, saying that zebra mussels are suspected to have infested Lake Latoka near Alexandria. That's the lake just west of Alexandria that is dissected by I-94:

Lake Latoka in Douglas County near Alexandria will also be designated as infested. Earlier this month, a snorkeler found a 3- or 4-year old zebra mussel in the lake. DNR biologists recently searched the area near the find, but were unable to locate any additional zebra mussels. In this case, the DNR will designate this water as infested as a precaution until additional searches of Lake Latoka can be conducted.

“These designations mean that regulations, education and enforcement to limit the spread of invasive species will increase in these waters,” Eisterhold said.

Anglers, boater and other recreationists are reminded to take the following steps before leaving a water access:

  • Clean boat by removing plants, zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species from watercraft, trailer, anchor and all water-related equipment. 
  • Drain water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait container, and motor) and drain bilge, livewell and baitwell by removing drain plugs. Keep drain plugs out and all water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches and worms, in the trash. Plan ahead to save bait by transferring it to containers prefilled with bottled or purified tap water.

More information about aquatic invasive species is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.