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Another Day County lake infested with zebra mussels, fishermen plan to adjust

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South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GF&P) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Blue Dog Lake near Webster.

Zebra mussels are tiny, invasive mollusks. When they invade a reservoir, they ruin infrastructure and limit the success of popular sport fish like walleye — a fish that drives the Day County tourism industry.

Doug Johnson owns the Sportsman's Cove, a popular bait shop in Day County. He said the Webster community and fishermen traveling to the area will have to adjust to the new reality.

"I think a lot of us accept it as reality and see it as a change coming in our environment. An unwelcome change, but a change that we're just going to have to accept and deal with," Johnson said.

That includes the way anglers fish.

"You might be in a situation where you're gonna have a poor daytime bite because of clear water and it be more low light fishing," Johnson said.

That's because zebra mussels make water clear, allowing the sun to break through — which walleye don't like, but weeds love.

Blue Dog is now the third Day County lake, including Pickerel and Enemy Swim lakes, to have a confirmed zebra mussel infestation according to GF&P.

To prevent further spread of the invasive species, officials say boaters should clean, drain and dry watercraft and trailers of all plants, mud, and water after being on a lake. The department says zebra mussels can survive up to 30 days out of water.

Because newly formed mussels can be so small, GF&P encourages boaters to feel their watercraft for any roughness which may indicate mussels have attached themselves.

For more information, click here.

Joshua is the business and economics reporter with SDPB News.