The Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) hopes that you all have fun fishing adventures with your families this summer, beginning with our Minnesota Fishing Opener weekend.

Fishing together can help make lasting family memories. Maybe renew or build upon an old family tradition.

We are hopeful you will continue to pass on the practices that keep your area lakes and rivers healthy. Remember to share the concepts of “clean, drain, dry,” plus disposing of unwanted bait properly. Bring that tap water from home to help preserve the minnows and leeches you want to keep. Don’t forget the ice chest to save the fresh fish for the traditional, family fish fry using that special batter recipe.

Together, as separate fishing families, we can prevent the movement of aquatic invasive species (AIS) from hitchhiking from one lake to another. We do that by cleaning off any vegetation or mud from our waders and anchors that can contain hidden animals or plant seeds.

Draining the lake water from our live wells, ballast tanks, gear and equipment prevents the transfer of microscopic AIS that we cannot see from infecting another lake or river.

Drying for at least five days or decontaminating with hot water can also help stop AIS transmission, too.

Invasive species are preventable if we all do our part to clean, drain, dry – every time! Bring on the summertime family fish stories and enjoy the healthy lakes!

Members of the Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations write a monthly column in the Enterprise addressing water issues in the region.