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Two lakes off impaired list

Lake home owners, anglers, bait dealers and more should be happy to know that two lakes in Douglas County have been taken off the infested waters list.

As of Monday, June 21, Lakes Jessie and Victoria were removed from the list of waters that are infested with zebra mussels, according to Nathan Olson, an invasive species specialist with the Department of Natural Resources.

Although the two lakes are off the list, the channel restriction that was put in place between Lakes Victoria and Geneva still remains.

In an e-mail to the newspaper, Olson said that although zebra mussels have been found in Lakes Carlos, L'Homme Dieu and Geneva, all searches for zebra mussels have come up empty on Lakes Victoria and Jessie.

"We have found no evidence of zebra mussels in Lakes Victoria and Jessie, so we have removed these lakes from the infested waters list as we promised," said Olson.

So, what does that mean?

Olson explained that the removal of the two lakes from the infested waters list means that people can now take bait for personal use on these lakes and water from these lakes may be used outside of their "riparian" zone - the land near the water.

However, it does not mean that people can leave the lake without draining water from their boats.

As of July 1, Olson said there is a new state law going into effect, which will require boaters leaving any lake in the state of Minnesota to drain all of the water from their boats by removing the drain plug and leaving it out until the next time they are ready to launch their boat on their next outing.

He added that the new law does not, however, require people leaving a lake in Minnesota to drain their portable bait buckets.

Having said that, Olson said it is still a requirement to drain portable bait buckets when someone leaves a lake that is infested with zebra mussels and/or spiny waterfleas (another aquatic invasive species).

He provided an example: If people were to leave a boat access on Lakes L'Homme Dieu, Geneva, Carlos, Darling or Alvin, which are all on the infested waters list, they would have to drain all of the water from their boat by removing the drain plug, as well as drain all the water from their bait containers.

In addition to these requirements, people cannot take bait for personal use on any of the above mentioned lakes, nor can water be taken from the lake for use outside of its riparian zone, Olson said.

Now that Lakes Victoria and Jessie are not on the infested waters list, those stricter rules do not apply.

When people leave the boat access on either of these two lakes, they would only be required to drain the water from their boat by removing the drain plug, noted Olson.