News release: During fishing opener weekend and always: clean, drain, dispose to help protect Minnesota waters

May 9, 2024

The approaching walleye fishing season comes with a reminder from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to always follow state laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

It’s important for anglers to take a few minutes for invasive species prevention every time a boat comes out of the water.

DNR Invasive Species Program Supervisor Kelly Pennington said that’s true whether an enforcement officer or watercraft inspector is present or not.

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

People must clean aquatic plants and debris from watercraft, drain lake or river water and keep drain plugs out during transport, and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash, not in the water.

Whether or not a lake has any invasive species, Minnesota law requires people to:

  • Clean watercraft, trailers and gear to remove aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water and leave drain plugs out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
  • Never release bait, plants or aquarium pets into Minnesota waters.
  • Dry docks, lifts and rafts for 21 days before moving them from one water body to another.

These additional steps reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species:

  • Decontaminate watercraft, trailers and gear – find free stations on the courtesy decontamination webpage of the DNR website.
  • Spray watercraft, trailers and gear with high-pressure water or rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry watercraft, trailers and gear for at least five days before using in another water body.

The DNR appreciates the efforts and collaboration of everyone engaged in aquatic invasive species prevention and management, including Wildlife Forever, Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee, the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, lake service providers and other outdoor recreation businesses, lake associations, recreation and hobbyist groups, tribal natural resource managers, and local governments receiving aquatic invasive species prevention aid.

People should contact a Minnesota DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found an invasive species that was not already known to be in the water body.

More information is available on the aquatic invasive species webpage of the DNR website.

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