Zebra mussels confirmed in Pickerel Lake in Day County

PIERRE –  The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has confirmed the presence of adult zebra mussels in Pickerel Lake in Day County.

“A suspected adult zebra mussel was found at the west boat ramp in Pickerel State Park early this morning by Dennis Skadsen, the project manager for the Northeast Glacial Lakes Watershed Improvement and Protection Project, while working on a project for Game, Fish and Parks,” said GFP region fisheries supervisor, Mark Ermer. “After confirming it to be a zebra mussel, Dennis Skadsen conducted additional sampling and mussels were sampled near the East Pickerel Lake State Park boat ramp and the old fish hatchery site. We currently do not know the level of infestation, but crews will be sampling the lake next week.” Pickerel Lake is now considered “infested” for zebra mussels.

This is the first documented zebra mussel in the northeast, glacial lakes region. 

The (GFP) Commission can designate waters infested with zebra mussels as containment waters. Specific decontamination requirements exist for boats kept in these waters continuously for three or more days, or that cannot have all water drained from them.

“Cabin owners with watercraft on docks and slips and other boaters that fall into these categories need to learn how to properly decontaminate their boats to slow the spread of zebra mussels,” said Ermer.

This discovery makes it even more important for boaters to follow the Aquatic Invasive Species rules. Every time they leave the water, all boaters and anglers should:

• Clean watercraft and trailers of all aquatic plants and mud.

• Drain all water by removing all drains, plugs, bailers, or valves that retain water. Be sure to completely drain your lower unit of any water by lowering completely.

• Dispose of unwanted bait in trash or fish cleaning stations when leaving the water

Completely draining a boat is the first step in making sure invasive species are not transferred to other waters.

For more information on zebra mussels, other aquatic invasive species, and how to properly decontaminate your watercraft, visit sdleastwanted.com.