Is It Too Late to Protect Lake Vermilion from AIS?

Is it too late? Will the depressing news about fishery issues at other major walleye lakes inevitably reach our shore?

Absolutely not!

Yes, spiny waterfleas were discovered in Vermilion’s east basin in 2015. They have noticeably reduced our small zooplankton, especially in late summer, but it’s unclear what effect spinys will have on our fisheries. So far, the impact on our young-of-the-year perch and walleyes appears limited.

Fortunately, through your hard work and a little luck, we do not have infestations of the major game changers – zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, or starry stonewort – which can seriously degrade our fisheries and recreation. There’s no reason we can’t keep it that way while our scientists work on solutions for eradication.

The Luck:

Zebras can’t reproduce in our low calcium, low pH water chemistry. Our native vegetation has kept our small curly-leaf pondweed infestations small – which is not the case in many central Minnesota lakes. Vermilion has no known infestations of Eurasian watermilfoil, despite its presence in Minnesota for 30 years and significant trailered boat traffic to our shores. Perhaps our water chemistry is helping here, too.

The Hard Work:

Boater education, your continuing vigilance, boat inspections at our accesses, and early detection of new infestations are all important in this battle. Together, we will prevail, and Lake Vermilion will continue to have the fewest AIS problems of Minnesota’s “Top 9” walleye lakes.

Major Minnesota Walleye Lakes Current AIS per DNR Infested Waters List
(Game Changers in RED)
Vermilion Spiny waterfleas
Lake of the Woods Spiny waterfleas
Rainy Spiny waterfleas
Kabetogama Spiny waterfleas
Upper Red Zebra Mussels, Starry Stonewort
Winnibigoshish Zebra Mussels, Starry Stonewort
Cass Zebra Mussels, Starry Stonewort
Leech Zebra Mussels, Eurasian Watermilfoil
Mille Lacs Zebra Mussels, Eurasian Watermilfoil,
Spiny Waterfleas
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