Photo by Tom Hintgen
Spencer McGrew, Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist for Otter Tail County, displays use of a rinse station that is part of a pilot project near the public boat access at Little Pine Lake, north of Perham. The access is located at the city-owned Paul Miller Park.

Rinse stations installed throughout Otter Tail County

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Most angers know that cleaning boats after leaving area lakes, in order to stop the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), takes some efforts that are not always easy.

Giving a helping hand to anglers, after some time spent fishing on Little Pine Lake near Perham, is Otter Tail County which has installed a rinse station at the public access in the city-owned Paul Miller Park.

The unit, part of a pilot project in coordination with the Minnesota DNR and the City of Perham, became operational on Aug. 9.

“We use filtered lake water that is pumped to a hose reel,” said Spencer McGrew, Otter Tail County’s Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist who manages the county’s AIS Prevention Program. 

“This unit was designed by anglers, for anglers,” McGrew said. “It’s a great benefit for men and women, boys and girls who have been out on the lake.”

Otter Tail County and other counties, for several years, have encouraged county residents and visitors to take the responsibility to inspect boats, trailers and equipment and remove visible aquatic plants.

“The new rinse station makes it easier to hose down the boat hull, rinse out the live well and spray the trailer bunks and axle,” McGrew said.

Another faucet just down the hill from the rinse station at Paul Miller Park will eventually be used to help anglers exchange their bait water with filtered water. This will help them transport their bait to other lakes where they plan to fish.

“The idea is anglers, after leaving Little Pine Lake, will dump out water from the bait container, rinse the bait and replace the container with fresh and filtered water,” McGrew said.

The cost for this project at the Paul Miller Park boat access, just north of Perham, totaled $5,200. 

“Otter Tail County’s AIS Task Force oversees and develops programs,” McGrew said.  “The Perham area project is one thing the task force really wanted to see developed.”

To complete the project, 300 feet of cable for electricity had to be trenched in from a nearby transformer.

“Our rinse station is among the first in Minnesota to provide filtered lake water in order to help anglers fight aquatic invasive species,” McGrew said.

Next summer Otter Tail County, headed by McGrew, hopes to install a second rinse station at a public boat access in the southern section of the county.

“The goal in 2023 and in succeeding years will be to continue to help anglers overcome barriers to fighting AIS,” McGrew said. “Most people who fish on area lakes want to do the right thing.”