Whitefish Chain zebra mussels increasing in number

December 2017

Invasive Plants:

The latest inspections done on the Whitefish Chain (August and September 2017) have not discovered any invasive plants (other than a small amount of  curly-leaf pond weed which has been present for many years without causing too much trouble).

However, in September 2017 MN DNR AIS specialist Tim Plude discovered Eurasian watermilfoil  in the outflow waters just below the USACOE dam in the City of Crosslake.   This is literally just a few hundred feet from the waters of Cross lake.

Zebra mussels

Zebra mussels were discovered in 2013, and now in 2017, are spread almost everywhere in the Whitefish Chain.

In the fall they are easy to find attached to anything that has been in the water over the summer.

The material below shows information gathered after the invasion started.

It is left here for those interested in following the gradual spread through the  chain.

Dan Swanson, MN DNR aquatic invasive species specialist headquartered in Brainerd, will have a final 2015 report on the status of zebra mussels on the Whitefish Chain in December.

He did offer a preliminary look at one of the sites on Upper Whitefish Chain that he investigated this fall.  See photo below.

zebra mussel photo Whitefish lake

“My goal is to have the Whitefish Chain zebra mussel finding report out in early December.   I only have one zebra mussel sighting from Rush Lake and that was on July 20, 2015.  The property owner found one zebra mussel.   I have numerous zm calls and e-mails from Upper Whitefish and Cross this fall.   I visited one of the sites on Upper Whitefish with the property owner on October 27, 2015.   The number of zebra mussels found on his 8 sections of docks and 2 lifts was very high (estimated 10,000 to 20,000).   See photo [above] of the dock wheels. “

from Dan Swanson, MN DNR regional AIS Specialist, Brainerd DNR office.


9-25-2015 Upper Whitefish: a lakeshore owner reports problem with zebra mussels in his lawn irrigation system which draws water from the lake.  Intake screen heavily covered with tiny zebra mussels and check valve made inoperative.

In 2013 only a handful of adult zebra mussels were discovered on the 14 lakes of the 14,000 acre Whitefish Chain.

In September 2014 over 500 zebra mussels were found on a single boat in Cross Lake, showing the great reproductive capacity they have. Cross Lake is at the east end of the Whitefish Chain.

Young of the year zebra mussel, Lower Hay Lake, Whitefish Chain, dock equipment

Zebra mussel, Nov. 2014, Lower Hay Lake, on dock base pad, Photo courtesy Dave and Judy Topinka

The MN DNR has asked citizens to call them when they discover zebra mussels.

WAPOA  sent postcards in September 2015 to shoreline owners in the Whitefish area repeating the  DNR’s request.  Dan Swanson, DNR AIS specialist’s phone number was listed as the person to call. 218-203-4354.

Swanson received several calls from Cross Lake shoreline owners with new zebra mussel reports.

Below a boat on Cross lake on September 25, 2014.

531 Zebra mussels found attached to aluminum fishing boat in Cross Lake in Minnesota.

DNR Photo: DNR AIS specialist Dan Swanson, along with the boat owner, counted 531 young zebra mussels glued to the surface of this boat that had been in Cross Lake from May to September.












It was an aluminum fishing boat that had been moored next to a dock from May to September 2014.  Swanson and the owner counted 531 zebra mussels on the hull of the boat.

They were all young-of-the-year.

The map below, made by Dan Swanson in 2014, shows rough locations of newly discovered zebra mussel locations in Cross Lake.

Some captions, while close to the site, may have pointers that are not pointing to the site.

Cross Lake area fall zm rerports 2014Shoreline owners are still encouraged to call Dan Swanson at the Brainerd office of the DNR if they find zebra mussels as they take boat and water related equipment out this Fall.  218-203-4354.

Boats that are left constantly in the water are very susceptible to infestation.

Boats and motors that are lifted out of the lake after each use, and allowed to dry out (5 days is suggested) are less likely to be infested.

Broken shells of zebra mussels can be razor sharp.  Protective foot wear should be used for all wading in the water.