Big Stone County started its inspection program in 2018. They signed a delegation agreement with the DNR allowing them to conduct their inspections. Inspecting boats achieve two priorities for the county:

  • Education; being able to teach people what the laws are and how to be in compliance with those laws.
  • Prevention; checking people’s watercraft’s for AIS will help slow the introduction to the lakes.
The AIS board believes the longer we can preserve our lakes the better. The hope is to stave off the intruders long enough to find a cure or a way to stop them. So, it may be inevitable that they are coming but the board believes it is also inevitable that we will find a way to stop them or be able to kill them.  Inspecting boats, trailers, and other watercraft are one of the best ways to slow the spread.

What does the inspector do?

The Inspector goes to various accesses in the county and waits for boats to go into and come out of the lake. When entering the lake, the inspector will ask a few questions like “What was the last lake you were on?” and “How long was the boat in the water?”. The inspector will then check over the boat to make sure no invasives are attached to the boat or trailer and that the drain plug was pulled. The inspector will also inspect the live wells to make sure there is no water in them and check various things inside the boat. If all is good they are allowed to launch.

When exiting the lake the inspector is again checking to make sure no AIS or native plants or animals are attached to the boat or trailer. The inspector will have the watercraft user empty all live wells, ballast tanks, and pull the drain plug. The inspector will also ask “Do you have any live bait?”. If they do have live bait they will have to dispose of the water and put tap water in. If they no longer want the bait they will have to properly dispose of it by throwing it into the trash. Once they comply with Minnesota AIS laws then they are free to go.

How to self-inspect your watercraft

  • Check your boat for AIS
  • Pull your drain plug
  • Drain your live wells and make sure they are dry/empty when entering a lake.
  • Check inside the boat on fishing equipment, anchors, and anything that was in contact with the water for plants, animals, and mud.
  • Tilt motor down to drain water out of it.
  • If you have minnows or leeches drain all the water and refill with tap water. Throw bait in the trash if no longer wanted