Disease-causing snails found downstream of Lake Winnie

Faucet snails, which have been linked to waterfowl deaths at Lake Winnibigoshish, have been found in the Mississippi River downstream of Lake Winnibigoshish, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The snails have been found in parts of the Mississippi River, Leech River and Little Winnibigoshish Lake. Those areas will be designated as infested waters.

The infested waters designation will include the Mississippi River downstream of the Lake Winnibigoshish Dam in Cass and Itasca counties, including Little Winnibigoshish Lake, to just below White Oak Lake. It will also include the Leech River downstream of the Mud Lake Dam in Cass County.

Before leaving a water access on the river or lake and traveling on a public road, anyone boating, angling, canoeing, or waterfowl hunting must:

  • Remove all aquatic plants from boats, trailers, decoy lines, waders, and all other equipment.
  • Remove all drain plugs from boats.
  • Drain all water from bilges, livewells and bait containers.

Faucet snails are hosts to parasitic trematodes, an intestinal parasite believed to have contributed to the deaths of 10s of thousands of diving ducks such as scaup and coots in the past three years on Lake Winnie and the last six years on the Mississippi River near Winona. Anglers can eat fish from these lakes and rivers without worry of the trematode.

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