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Zebra mussels confirmed in Lake Lida in Otter Tail County

by Mike McFeely

Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Lake Lida, a popular Otter Tail County lake that is home to Maplewood State Park, according to a source.

A landowner discovered adult zebra mussels recently in the lake and brought them to the DNR for identification. The fact they were adult zebra mussels says they have likely been in Lake Lida for some time.

The DNR's aquatic invasive species expert at its Fergus Falls office, Mark Ranweiler, was unavailable for comment Wednesday morning.

Both sections of Lake Lida, north and south, will be designated as infested waters. North Lida is 5,564 acres, South Lida is 856 acres. The lake is popular fishing and recreation spot near Pelican Rapids. The lake is known for big walleyes and crappies, and carries other popular species of fish like largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pike, bluegills and is known in the winter for its tulibees.

The long-term effect of zebra mussels in Minnesota lakes is not known, but the fingernail-sized mussels have caused numerous problems in lakes in other states. 

According to the DNR: "Zebra mussels can cause problems for lakeshore residents and recreationists. Homeowners that take lake water to water lawns can have their intakes clogged. Mussels may attach to motors and possibly clog cooling water areas. Shells can cause cuts and scrapes if they grow large enough on rocks, swim rafts and ladders. Anglers may lose tackle as the shells can cut fishing line. Zebra mussels can also attach to native mussels, killing them. Zebra mussels filter plankton from the surrounding water. This filtering can increase water clarity, which might cause more aquatic vegetation to grow at deeper depths and more dense stands. If a lake has high numbers of mussels over large areas, this filter feeding could impact the food chain, reducing food for larval fish."

Other Otter Tail County lakes that have been designated with zebra mussels include: Bass, Crystal, Dayton Hollow Reservoir, Fish, Kerbs, Little McDonald, Little Pelican, Lizzie, Orwell Reservoir, Paul, Pelican, Prairie, Rose and Rusch.