Minnesota’s Boat Decontamination Sites

By Clark Marshall

Every year since 1980 our family has gone to a resort on Lake Winnibigoshish for a week. We take our boat out of Serpent Lake and drop it in Winnie as we do a lot of fishing and water sports. When we leave we pull the boat and drop it back in Serpent Lake. Since Winnie now has zebra mussels and Serpent does not, I wanted to share with you how we handled this problem. I knew the general rule was to wait 5 days before putting the boat back into the water, but I felt the need to know more about how best to prevent contaminating Serpent.

  • First I asked the resort owner what he could suggest. He said the DNR had a boat decontamination setup at Cass Lake. I asked what it cost. He said it was free. (“You’ve already paid for it.”)
  • So I decided to pull the boat early and I drove it to Cass Lake. No decontamination station was there. It had moved. My son then went on the internet and found a schedule of where the decontamination stations are located. Click for decontamination sites HERE.
  • The next day we were able to have our “Courtesy” decontamination done as we began our trip home. There was no line and we got decontaminated in just a few minutes. The DNR guys were very nice. They use 140 degree F. water to flush your live wells, motors, bilge and power wash your boat and trailer. That apparently kills any zebra mussel larva or other invasive species that may be present.
  • There are dozens of these decontamination locations throughout the state. We noticed a sign for another one as we went through Outing, MN.

I also chose to wait the additional 5 days before putting my boat back in Serpent, but I guess that was not necessary after the decontamination process.

Please consider using this service if you take your boat from Serpent Lake to one with infested waters. We need to do all we can to protect Serpent Lake and forestall the impact of invasive species.

Editor’s Note: Clark submitted article prior to confirmation of Zebra Mussels in Serpent Lake