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Deer Lake Association
A member of the Minnesota Lakes Association

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

are a Dire Threat to the

Legacy of Deer Lake


Remember,  there are no Second Chances:

Once in the Lake, Always in the Lake



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


Zebra mussels, starry stonewort, and other aquatic invasives (AIS) are creeping closer to Deer Lake.  Numerous local lakes are now infested, including Big Winnie, Sand, Northstar, and Dora Lakes, portions of the Mississippi, Bowstring and Bigfork Rivers, and Hale and McKinney Lakes in Grand Rapids. 


AIS moves via transportation routes, from infested to uninfested waters via boats, trailers, bilge, live well, bait water, fishing and other water gear, docks lifts, swim rafts, float planes, and recreational gear.  Almost always, AIS is moved unwittingly.  Infestation would be devastating to family enjoyment of Deer Lake and decrease property values.  Many property owners are asking what we can do


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. 

How you can help: 


  • 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 the boat/trailer in the sun for at least five days or have your boat decontaminated before launching again in Deer Lake.


  • 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.  It’s freePlease understand that decontamination may not be something you can do with your own pressure-washer because your water may not be hot enough to kill AIS.


  • Do you hire a lake service provider to install/remove your dock/lift?  Hire a DLA FiveStar service provider.  FiveStar businesses voluntarily take AIS precautions when moving from lake to lake in order to earn your business.  If your provider is not on the DLA FiveStar list, ask them why not.  Patronize a provider that takes AIS seriously.


  • 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?  Ask.  If so, drain thoroughly and dry in the sun for at least five days or decontaminate (#2 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.



  • 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.  Have it inspected by the Itasca County AIS program before moving it 218-256-4243It’s free.  Decontaminate. That’s free too.  Better yet, buy used from a DLA FiveStar dealer.


  • 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, have the trailer decontaminated before backing it into Deer Lake.  (#2 above).  See our listing of DLA FiveStar firms.


  • Is your boat/engine serviced by a Marine Dealer?  Does that firm test-drive boats in infested waters?  Ask.  DLA FiveStar dealers won’t test in infested waters or will decontaminate the boat for you 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 in keeping Deer Lake free from the devastating effects of AIS.    



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