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Deer Lake Association
A member of the Minnesota Lakes Association

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Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

are a Dire Threat to the

Legacy of Deer Lake


Remember, there are no Second Chances:

Once in Deer Lake, Always in Deer Lake!



What you can do to help prevent Deer Lake from becoming infested with AIS:


Several local lakes are now infested with zebra mussels, starry stonewort, or other aquatic invasives (AIS) including Pokegama, Little Jay Gould, Big Winnie, Sand, North Star, and Dora Lakes, portions of the Mississippi, Bowstring and Bigfork Rivers, and Hale and McKinney Lakes in Grand Rapids.  The Mississippi River is now infested all the way from Big Winnie to south of Grand Rapids.   


Almost always, new lakes and rivers are infested unwittingly.  AIS are not moved by waterfowl or other wildlife.  They’re moved by us.  We move AIS via transportation routes, from lake to lake on boats, trailers, bilge, live well, bait water, fishing and other water gear, docks, lifts, swim rafts, float planes, and recreational gear.  Infestation would be devastating to family enjoyment of Deer Lake and decrease property values.  You and your guests can help! 


Our public-access inspection program has been effective, but inspectors can’t be there 24/7.  We all have a prevention role … property owners, recreational boaters, anglers, guests, visitors, and the businesses that serve us, including resorts, camps, campgrounds, lake service providers, bait shops, and marine dealers. 


What you and your guests can do: 

1.     Do you know which MN lakes and rivers are infested and which are not?   


2.     Do you hire a lake service provider to install/remove your dock/lift?  Hire a FiveStar service provider.  FiveStar businesses are DNR-certified, have signed a contract agreeing to apply additional specified AIS best-practices and safeguards when moving from one lake or river to another, and are eager to earn your business.  Patronize a lake service provider that takes AIS seriously. 


FiveStar Lake Service Providers:

Grand Rapids Marine 218-326-0351  

Thousand Lakes Dock & Lift 218-398-7553  

JJ’s Barge Service 218-244-5194

Chad Schumacher 218-256-9691  

Matt Almquist/38Outpost 218-259-9997

Paul Grooms/Grooms Property Service 218-259-2157  

Fish Lake Dock and Lift  651-674-8581


New FiveStar providers are welcome  


3.     Do you move your boat from Deer Lake to other waters for fishing or recreation?  Know whether those waters are infested and take precautions.  Practice Clean, Drain, Dispose, and Dry.  When you land your boat, thoroughly inspect it.  Remove weeds and mud.  Drain standing water.  Empty live wells and bait buckets.  If waters are infested, dry your boat/trailer in the sun for at least five days or decontaminate your boat/trailer before launching again in Deer Lake.


If you don’t have five days to dry, the Itasca AIS program will decontaminate your boat for free.  Call the Itasca County AIS program at 218-256-4243 for the current location of the closest mobile thermal decontamination unit.  They will direct you to the nearest location.  If possible, they will bring the mobile decon unit to you, or arrange to meet you.  Second best is self-decontaminating with your home pressure washer or rinsing with very hot water.  Either way, please understand that your water may not be hot enough.  Decontamination includes a non-contact infrared thermometer to verify water temperature.  Killing AIS requires applying 140° water for at least 10 seconds or 120° for at least two minutes.  Best to call the Itasca AIS program. 


4.     Are you considering purchasing a used boat?  In what lakes or rivers was that boat used?  Ask.  Are those waters infested?  If you don’t know or can’t find out, assume the boat was in infested waters.  Have the boat, motor, and trailer inspected and decontaminated by the Itasca County AIS program before moving it 218-256-4243It’s free.  Better yet, buy used or new from a FiveStar dealer who will decontaminate the boat for you.


5.     Are you considering purchasing from a marine dealer or cabin owner on another lake a used dock, lift, swim-raft or other recreational items that sit in the water?  Dry for at least 21 days before moving it.  Is that lake infested?  Have the item inspected by the Itasca County AIS program before moving it 218-256-4243It’s free.  Decontaminate.  That’s free too.  Better yet, buy used or new from a FiveStar dealer.


6.     Do your guests bring to Deer Lake owned or rented pontoons, fishing boats, runabouts, trailers, personal watercraft, or recreational gear?  Were they on infested waters recently?  Ask.  If so, drain thoroughly and dry in the sun for at least five days or decontaminate (#3 above) before launching in Deer Lake. 


Recreational gear includes paddle boards, sail boats, buoys, scuba and snorkel gear, water carpets, inner tubes, canoes, kayaks, fishing gear, waders, waterfowl hunting gear and other similar items that may sit in infested water or hold standing water.


If you or your guests are renting watercraft or recreational gear, please rent from a FiveStar dealer who applies AIS safeguards.                


7.     Do you rent a trailer to launch or land your pontoon or other watercraft?  Learn where the trailer was before you.  Some rental firms will decontaminate the trailer for you.  If not, decontaminate the trailer before backing it into Deer Lake.  (#3 above).  See our listing of FiveStar firms.  Several FiveStar firms rent trailers.   


8.     Is your boat/engine serviced by a Marine Dealer?  Does that firm test-drive boats in infested waters?  Ask.  FiveStar dealers won’t test in infested waters or will decontaminate the boat for you for free.


9.     Do you maintain a private launch on your property?  Don’t let others use it unless you know where their boats and trailers have been.


Please watch this 10 min video showing AIS infestation in MN lakes.  Scenes from Deer Lake included. 


Thank you for your help keeping Deer Lake free from AIS infestation.



More AIS Information:


MN COLA Flyer on AIS

(Click the Link)

Itasca County AIS Facebook Page

Public Service Announcement

Summary of the Itasca AIS Program

CAP Application Form


A beach full of invasive mussles makes bare feet impossible!


MN DNR: Invasive Species in Itasca County

Poster from Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations 

Mussles and more: find many other Invasives on the sidebar of this website