Minnesota's fishing opener is Saturday, May 15 and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that they play an important role in preventing the spread of invasive aquatic species.

If all anglers simply take a few minutes to follow Minnesota laws designed to prevent their spread, aquatic invasive species issues should decline across the state.

Maj. Shane Kirlin, DNR operations manager, says taking these steps must be done whether or not an enforcement officer or watercraft inspector is present.

“All anglers and boaters in Minnesota are required to take three simple steps: clean, drain, dispose,” Kirlin said. “It’s not only the best way to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, but it’s also the law in Minnesota.”

Here are brief descriptions of each step:

  1. CLEAN: Clean all visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species from watercraft, trailers, and water-related equipment before leaving any water access or shoreland.
  2. DRAIN: Drain water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait containers, motor) and drain bilge, livewell and baitwell by removing drain plugs before leaving a water access or shoreline property. Keep drain plugs out and water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
  3. DISPOSE: Dispose of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches, and worms, in the trash. It is illegal to release bait into a waterbody or release aquatic animals from one waterbody to another. If you want to keep your bait, you must refill the bait container with bottled or tap water.
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While the above steps are required, it is also recommended that all anglers also spray boat and trailer with high-pressure water, rinse boat and trailer with very hot water (120° for two minutes; or 140° for 10 seconds), or dry boat and equipment for at least five days.

I know from boating quite a bit during the summer that most lakes make it easy to take the required steps and there are times when a DNR rep is there to make sure you use the equipment provided to do just that. On one occasion, I didn't see the DNR rep and after I sprayed down my boat a rep came out of nowhere to thank me for following the law.

You can click here to get full details on Minnesota's aquatic invasive species law and the steps all boaters must take.

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