The 2015 fishing opener is an important reminder of every Minnesota angler’s vital role in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Following AIS laws helps protect waters from invasives while protecting anglers from citations, according to Maj. Greg Salo, DNR Enforcement Division operations manager.
The law requires anglers to clean weeds and debris from their boats, remove drain plugs and keep them out while traveling, and dispose of unused bait in the trash. “The good news is, if everyone taking part in the fishing opener follows this simple procedure throughout the season, it’s possible to prevent new infestations caused by human activity,” Salo said.
The issue is so important that Gov. Mark Dayton declared the 2015 fishing opener a day for invasive species awareness. Zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas can be easily carried from one lake to another if aquatic plants or water are left on a boat or trailer.
“Every angler has a stake in preventing the spread of AIS in the waters they fish and enjoy,” said Ann Pierce, section manager, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division. “We continue to develop management strategies to treat invasives, but the most important tool is prevention.”
Specially marked clean-and-drain areas at public water accesses provide safe and convenient places for anglers to clean, drain and dispose. Anglers will see watercraft inspectors at some access sites. These inspectors will check to ensure anglers follow clean, drain, dispose laws and may deny access if necessary. At other landings, anglers will see volunteer educators who will provide information on what they need to do to protect Minnesota waters.
Some aquatic invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them before moving to another body of water, especially after leaving zebra mussel or spiny waterflea infested waters, the DNR recommends that anglers either:
- Spray boat with high-pressure water;
- Rinse boat with hot water (120 degrees for 2 minutes, or 140 degrees for 10 seconds); or
- Dry boat and equipment for at least five days.