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Zebra mussels confirmed in Lake Lida in Otter Tail County

Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Lake Lida, a popular Otter Tail County lake that is home to Maplewood State Park, according to a news release issued recently by the Pelican River Watershed District.

A landowner recently discovered adult zebra mussels in the lake and brought them to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for identification.

The fact they were adult zebra mussels says they have likely been in Lake Lida for some time.

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 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 tullibees.

Tuesday, the DNR announced the recent discovery of adult zebra mussels in Cross Lake, part of the 14-lake Whitefish chain of lakes north of Brainerd in Crow Wing County, has been confirmed by an aquatic invasive species biologist.

Preliminary searches of connected waters have resulted in the confirmation of additional zebra mussels in Lower Hay Lake and suggest the infestation is not isolated to Cross Lake.

Fourteen lakes in the Whitefish chain of lakes will be designated as infested waters.

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.

"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.

According to Pelican River Watershed District director Tera Guetter, a recent report of zebra mussels on Detroit Lake turned out to be a false rumor, as divers in the area failed to turn up any evidence of the invasive species.