WTIP file photo

Researchers keep watchful eye on spread of aquatic invasive species near the BWCA

The Minnesota fishing opener was Saturday, May 15. Many anglers took to the waters of Cook County lakes over the opener. What some did not perhaps know is that they were fishing on a lake infested spiny water fleas, an invasive species.

A collection of popular lakes in Cook County, including Devil Track, McFarland and Saganaga are all infested with spiny water fleas.

Based on new research, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center is asking anglers, including those who visit the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, to wipe fishing lines, reels and bait buckets, in addition to draining all water from boats and equipment, when leaving a spiny water flea-invaded lake in order to ‘Stop Spiny.’

Dr. Donn Branstrator is a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth and one of the researchers involved with the study of spiny water fleas in Minnesota. He spoke with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about the recent research involving aquatic invasive species in Cook County. The audio to their conversation is shared below.