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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

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, spiny waterflea, or other aquatic invasives (AIS) including Pokegama, Little Jay Gould, Big Winnie, Bowstring, Sand, North Star, Ball Club, 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.  See a listing of local infested waters below.      

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 from one lake or river to another, via boats, trailers, bilge-water, live-well, bait-water, fishing and other water gear, docks, lifts, swim-rafts, float planes, and recreational gear.  Infestation would harm family enjoyment of Deer Lake, decrease property values, and degrade the fishery.

Anyone who moves from one lake or river to another can cause new waters to become infested.  Our Deer Lake public-access inspection program helps prevent AIS from spreading, but inspectors can’t be there 24/7 and the Deer Lake public access is only one entry path among many.

We all have a prevention role … property owners, recreational boaters, anglers, invited and paying guests, visitors, and the businesses that serve us, including resorts, camps, campgrounds, lake service providers, bait shops, and marine dealers. 


What we can do: 

Know whether those waters are infested.  Practice clean, drain, dispose, and dry before leaving any water access or shoreland: 

  • Clean plants, mud, and prohibited invasives from watercraft, trailers, and water-related gear 
  • Drain standing water from boat, ballast-tank, live-well, bait-well, and portable bait container.  Remove drain plugs.  Keep drain plugs out and water draining devices open during transportation.  Tilt motor down.   Personal watercraft users should briefly run the powertrain to expel all water.  If you or your guest is coming from a lake with spiny water flea, wipe anchor line and fishing lines and reels.  Drain and wipe live wells.  Drain and wipe bait buckets.  
  • 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.
  • If you’re departing infested waters, dry watercraft and gear for 5 days before you launch again.  If you don’t have five days, then decontaminate


The Itasca AIS Program will provide inspection and decontamination services for free 218-256-4243


  • Infested water can remain even after draining and pumping, especially in fully enclosed ballast tanks in watercraft like wakeboard boats, so please spray and flush with fresh hot water bilge, live-wells, ballast tanks, bait containers, etc. after draining. 
  • Decontamination includes using 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.  Trained Itasca AIS Program inspectors can safely do this for you or your guest for free.  Call 218-256-4243.  They will direct you to the nearest staffed decon station.    


  • Decontamination for recreational gear like waders, inner-tubes, fishing gear, paddle boards, buoys, scuba and snorkel gear, water carpets, inner tubes, canoes, kayaks, waterfowl hunting gear and other similar items that can't hold standing water can many times be accomplished by careful visual inspection, removal of plants and mud, along with a thorough warm or cold fresh-water rinse.  


  • Do you hire a lake service provider to install/remove your dock/lift?  DLA asks you to move your business to FiveStar service provider.  Patronize businesses that take AIS seriously.   


FiveStar businesses are DNR-certified, have signed a contract agreeing to apply additional specified AIS best-practices and safeguards, and have agreed to agree to allow the Itasca AIS Program to review their operations, make recommendations for improvement, and disseminate AIS best practices to other service providers.  Patronize a lake service provider that takes AIS precautions 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

Lake Home Helpers 218-969-5028


New FiveStar providers are welcome  


  • Do you plan to hire a landscaper to perform permitted work on or near your shoreline?  Ask for a bid from a FiveStar landscaper who takes AIS safeguards seriously

FiveStar Landscapers:

Lange Nursery & Landscape 218-380-6939

McNeil Excavating 218-259-6364

J.V. Tree and Landscaping 866-232-5183 or 612-987-9992


  • Do your invited or paying guests bring to Deer Lake owned or rented pontoons, fishing boats, runabouts, trailers, personal watercraft, or recreational gear?  Were they on infested waters recently?  AskIf you don’t know or can’t find out, assume the boat was used in infested waters.  If so, drain thoroughly and dry in the sun for at least five days or decontaminate (#2 above) before launching in Deer Lake. 

Recommend renting from a FiveStar provider who applies AIS safeguards and has invested in specialized decontamination equipment like R&R Rental and Grand Rapids Marine.     


  • Do you rent a trailer to launch or land your pontoon or other watercraft?  Learn where the trailer was before you.  Some FiveStar rental firms will decontaminate the trailer for you, like R&R Rental and Grand Rapids Marine.  If not, decontaminate the trailer before backing it into Deer Lake (#2 above).  See our listing of FiveStar firms.   


  • 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 AIS program before moving it 218-256-4243It’s free.  Better yet, buy used or new from a FiveStar dealer like R&R Rental or Grand Rapids Marine who will decontaminate the boat for you.


  • 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.  It’s MN law.  Is that lake infested?  Have the item carefully inspected and decontaminated (#2 above) by the Itasca AIS program before moving it 218-256-4243It’s free.  Better yet, buy used or new from a FiveStar dealer.


  • 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 afterward for free.


  • 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


Click this link to see a list of AIS Infested waters in the Deer Lake Area



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