When boating or fishing in Minnesota, protect your waters by following state aquatic invasive species laws
1. 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 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 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.
KNOW THE LAW: You may not…
- Transport watercraft without removing the drain plug.
- Arrive at lake access with drain plug in place.
- Transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels, or other prohibited species on any roadway.
- Launch a watercraft with prohibited species attached.
- Transport water from Minnesota lakes or rivers.
- Release bait into the water.
Spray, rinse, dry — Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving zebra mussel and spiny waterflea infested waters:
- Spray with high-pressure water
- Rinse with very hot water*
- Dry for at least 5 days
Run motor and personal watercraft for a few seconds to discharge water before leaving a water access.
Transport fish on ice — be prepared, bring a cooler.
* These water temperatures will kill zebra mussels and some other AIS: 120°F for at least 2 minutes; or 140°F for at least 10 seconds.
Watch the Clean, Drain, Dry video »
Report new infestations
If you suspect a new infestation of an invasive plant or animal, take a photo and note the location, or save a specimen and report it to a local DNR invasive species contact.
There is also a risk of spreading AIS by other water recreation. In addition to the required and recommended actions listed above, take extra precautions when engaging in these activities.
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- Personal watercraft
- Avoid areas with aquatic plants before trailering personal watercraft.
- Run engine for 5-10 seconds on the trailer to blow out excess water and vegetation from internal drive, and then turn engine off.
- Clean aquatic plants and animals from hull, trailer, water intake grate, and steering nozzle before leaving water access.
Watch this YouTube video to see how you can help »
- Clean aquatic plants and animals from hull, centerboard or bilgeboard well, rudderpost, trailer, and other equipment before leaving water access.
- Scuba diving
Divers play an important role in protecting Minnesota waters from aquatic invasive species
Zebra mussels encrust hard surfaces, obstructing views of unique underwater features. Eurasian watermilfoil forms dense mats, getting tangled in equipment and making swimming difficult. Invasive species impact the underwater wildlife we love to observe.
Seeds, eggs, larvae, small animals, and plant fragments can hide in the nooks and crannies of your gear or in water trapped inside your gear.
Divers must follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Gear and equipment must be cleaned and drained before leaving a lake or river.
Diver best practices for AIS prevention
Before you dive:
- Plan your visit
- Learn how to identify aquatic invasive species.
- Check the DNR infested waters list to learn about aquatic invasive species that may be in the area.
- Schedule dives on lakes and rivers without aquatic invasive species first, before visiting water bodies that have AIS. This reduces your risk of spreading AIS from one water body to another.
Before leaving your dive site:
- Clean your gear by removing plants, mud and small animals.
- Drain all water from gear, especially your buoyancy compensator.
- Take a picture or collect a sample of suspicious aquatic plants and animals.
At home or at the shop:
- Rinse the inside and outside of your gear with tap water.
- Dry your gear for 5 days before diving in a new location, whenever possible.
- Report suspicious aquatic plants and animals to the DNR. Note the exact location, and contact your DNR Invasive Species Specialist.
Additional information for dive shop owners
Become a lake service provider. If you rent out water-related equipment for use in Minnesota waters, then you are legally considered a lake service provider business. Lake service provider business owners are required to take AIS training and get a permit and make sure their employees working with water-related equipment complete employee certificate training every three years. Both owner permit training and employee certificate training are available online.
Provide AIS information to your customers. Dive shops are a trusted source of information for divers. Provide your customers with more information about aquatic invasive species (here are some AIS publications) and the actions they can take to prevent their spread.
- Waterfowl hunting
- Clean aquatic plants, animals, and mud from boat, motor, trailer, waders or hip boots, decoy lines, hunting dog, anchors (elliptical and bulb-shaped anchors can help reduce snagging aquatic plants), pushpoles, and ATVs.
- Cut cattails or other plants above the waterline for blinds or camouflage In accordance with regulations.
- Shore and fly-fishing
- Clean any visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from waders and hip boots.
- Scrub any visible material off footwear with a stiff brush.
- Use non-felt soled boots instead of felt-soled footwear to further reduce the risk of spreading AIS.
- Dispose of unwanted bait, worms and fish parts in the trash. When keeping live bait, drain bait container and replace with bottled or tap water.
- Seaplane pilots
Watch this YouTube video to see what you can do to help »
- Wild rice harvesting
- Clean all visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud off push poles, flails, canoes, boats, trailers, and other equipment before leaving the water access.
- Drain water from boats, canoes, and all equipment.
- Report suspected new infestations to a DNR AIS specialist.
Watch this award-winning YouTube video to learn how invasive species jeopardize the delicate ecological order. »