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The need to decontaminate is paramount

Decontaminating your boat at the Park Rapids transfer station is easy and convenient if you don’t want to wait five days for it to dry out. (Gary Korsgaden / For the Enterprise)

By Gary Korsgaden / Guest Columnist

At the end of a recent fishing trip on Lake Of The Woods a Minnesota DNR greeted my fishing partner and I when we pulled our boat out of the Wheelers Point access.

My experience told me that spiny water flea, a aquatic nuisance specie, is present on the waters of Lake of the Woods. After asking where we would be putting the boat next, I wasn’t surprised when the inspector advised me to either allow my boat to be dry for at least five days or to decontaminate before putting it into another body of water.

Note: It is advisable when a vessel is leaving an infested body of water and needs to be decontaminated, if it is going to be put back into a body of water immediately without being left dry for five days.

On the three hour drive back to Park Rapids the only decontamination station I could think of was at the entrance of the transfer station.

The option to let my boat be dry for five days was out of the question. Our open water time is short enough as it is. I also had planned to fish a couple of Park Rapids area lakes the next week, too.

Our day on the water and drive home left my partner very tired, consequently the thought of taking a few minutes to decontaminate was put off until the next day, a Sunday.

I had no intention tof putting the boat into a another body of water until it was decontaminated. The next day I woke up early and drove to the transfer station. Dialing the number on the sign left a message which was just answered a few minutes later with a return call from Coleman Murphy, a level two inspector, on call for the weekend.

Coleman assured me he was on his way. Upon his arrival, a few minutes later, he directed me to the north side of the building where a hot water washer was stored. It took just a few minutes for the hot water washer to reach the temperature of 140 degrees. Murphy assured me that the process would not damage the finish or graphics on the outside of my boat.

I watched as Murphy slowly worked around the outside of the boat and trailer, concentrating on areas where spiny water fleas could have hitched a ride from Lake of the Woods, which included my live wells. Confident he got all the areas with the hot water power washer, he sent me on my way.

My advice if you fish infected waters and can’t let your boat sit for five days dry, the hot water decontamination process is a good precaution measure to take. It is easy and accessible.

Decontamination hours are Friday 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday 12 noon until 6 p.m. until the Labor Day weekend. After hours you can call 252-6738 to set up an appointment.