We do it year round. In the snow, on the ice, in the mud, from the shore and on a boat. Minnesotans love to fish and to show off our catch and to eat our fill of fish from our area lakes. But the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is telling #BoldNorth anglers to throw back the fish that are caught in Lake Elmo in the Eastern Metro area. 

The MDH comes out with yearly guidelines on how many fish you can safely eat from area lakes and rivers. This year’s guidance includes updated advice for six Twin Cities area lakes — Bde Maka Ska (formerly Calhoun), Elmo, Harriet, Lake of the Isles, Johanna and Twin – and the Mississippi River between the Ford Dam and the lock and dam at Hastings based on their levels of one type of contaminant known as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

In the past, these waters had levels of PFOS contamination that prompted a limit of one meal per month for certain fish species caught in those lakes and rivers. Fortun,ately the PFOS levels in the fish from five of these six lakes declined over the last decade, but the levels in fish from Washington County’s Lake Elmo remained high.

Don't fret if you've eaten a fish from those lakes recently as the warning is for long-term exposure to PFOS and other contaminants. But still, stay safe and maybe stop by Long John Silvers or Red Lobster instead of eating what you catch in those area lakes.

MDH’s site-specific meal advice helps people limit exposure to contaminants like PCBs, mercury and PFOS by choosing fish lower in contaminants. MDH also offers more general statewide safe-eating guidelines for avoiding exposure to contaminants in fish from all sources. Information on fish contamination in local lakes and waters also can be found on the DNR LakeFinder web app.