Thursday, February 25, 2021

Long time Long Lake resident Jon Sams passed away on Monday, February 22, 2021

Written by CC White:

Jon Sams’ family has long ties to the Long Lake, Pine Haven Beach area.  His uncle, Ben Lantz, bought a lot and built the family’s cabin on Chippewa Loop during the 1930s.  (Ben Lantz bought his property with money he made on a paper route when he was just 12 years old, but that's a whole separate story.)  Josephine (Jo) Sams, Ben’s sister, would come with her 2 children, Sally and Jon, to stay for parts of the summer.  When Jon was a teenager he was hired by Harold White (my grandfather and owner of Pine Haven Resort) one summer to help Dick White (my father) deliver blocks of ice along the beach to all the cabins that still used iceboxes.  When Jon was discharged from the Air Force he spent some time at Long Lake.  As I remember it, Jon took myself and my sister, LuAnne, on fishing and rock hunting expeditions.  He also carved us rubber band guns.  He and my parents would go out to Chateau Paulette to eat and dance around the big fire place.  In the 1960s Jo Sams bought the lot next to and north of her brother’s place and built her own cabin. Over the years Jon married and brought his family to Long Lake.  When his mother died he inherited her cabin.  After his retirement Jon and his wife, Linda, spent most summers here.  Besides fishing on his little pontoon (The Lady Bug) every day, he also volunteered to be part of the Lake Association’s water quality monitoring team.  He took Secchi Disk readings at least once a month until he sold the cabin in 2012.  Jon also volunteered to teach a class in Lake Discovery in July of 2011 which showed the kids how to identify the plants and other life forms found in Long Lake.
Young Jon with a great northern.
To view Jon's obituary follow this link:  Obituary for Jon Sams (March 26, 1933 ~ February 22, 2021)

Jon with his dog Suzie
Jon with his dog, Suzie, on the power line trail.

A fish story at a Chippewa Loop cookout.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Zebra Mussels May Not End (Lake) Life As We Know It

 Fall Newsletter Article by Jim Blodgett

In the Zoom educational session on Zebra Mussels sponsored by LLAA on Thursday, October 22, Nicole Kovar, MN DNR Invasive Species Specialist, Northwest Region, provided a terrific overview about the life and practices of Zebra Mussels and the potential effects of said life and practices on Long Lake. Then followed an extensive Q & A session, and I’m here to tell you that we need not retreat wailing into the woods or put our cabins up for sale before word of Zebra Mussels in Long Lake gets around.

It is true that Zebra Mussels propagate at insane rates, a single one annually producing hundreds of thousands young, or as they are called, veligers. It is this invisible horde of veligers adrift in the lake that makes it important to eliminate the transportation of water between lakes, whether in bait buckets or fish wells or any other such containers. If moving bait to another body of water, replace the original water with bottled water or some other untainted water.

At four weeks veligers are only one millimeter long. By then they have started attaching themselves to solid surfaces with tiny filaments called byssal threads. These threads form extremely strong bonds to whatever the veliger settles on – rocks, docks, anchors, boat lifts, boat bottoms and motors, rafts, trampolines, the underside of recreational lily pads, native clams, other Zebra Mussels, and even plants. It is the attachment to plants that makes it important to eliminate their transportation between lakes. The first Zebra Mussel found in Long Lake was attached to a pond weed at the South Access.

The maximum length of a Zebra Mussel at the end of its first year is 1/4” to 3/8”. Any longer than that have been around for more than a year. Their presence is not particularly noticeable at the end of their first year in a lake. Following their introduction into a lake comes a lag period during which their numbers grow incrementally. This lag period is followed by a time of exponential increase, and people suddenly notice that the Zebra Mussels “are everywhere.” The length of the lag period varies greatly among lakes. Factors determining this length include the water’s temperature and its chemical makeup. Zebra Mussels do not propagate below 54° F, so a lake’s depth and water sources help determine the length of the breeding season. The amount of calcium in a lake helps to determine how quickly or slowly Zebra Mussel shells grow. Long Lake, unfortunately, has a robust calcium content.

Such differences among lakes result in large differences in the time by which Zebra Mussels’ population growth becomes exponential. Leech Lake took six years before its Zebra Mussel population growth hit overdrive. On the other hand, Cass Lake required only one year. Exponential growth continues until it finally plateaus at the lake’s carrying capacity. Zebra Mussel numbers do not wane significantly since they have few natural predators in Minnesota, unlike in their native Euro-Asian water bodies where predators keep their numbers in check. The few natural predators in our part of the world, such as sheepshank fish and diving ducks, simply cannot control such large numbers.

Mature Zebra Mussels feed by filtering tiny life forms out of the water. One Mussel filters about a quart of water a day. This filtering has great effect: Lake Winnibigoshish doubled in clarity in one year. We usually see clarifying our lake’s water as desirable (and it is), but too much clarification in a short time through removal of tiny life forms can significantly upset a lake’s ecology, upending fish and plant life. The Zebra Mussel shells themselves differ from those of our native crustaceans. The shells of our snails, for example, pulverize when dead, but those of the Zebra Mussels break into shards that can cut peoples’ feet.

The presence of Zebra Mussels in Long Lake will make a difference in the lives of us who live on the lake. Total eradication is not a realistic goal. We will need to keep boats and their motors on lifts, out of the water, when not actually using them. We may need to rake our swimming areas and perhaps take to wearing water shoes. Zebra Mussels will not affect the use of docks and lifts.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota AIS Research Center at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is conducting many research projects related to Zebra Mussel control. Some promising projects involve the use of copper compounds, and the recently completed decoding of the Zebra Mussel genome allows exploration of genetically based control, perhaps, for example, rendering Zebra Mussels infertile through gene splicing. Such cures, of course, will take years to develop, refine and implement, but in the meantime we can continue to enjoy the pleasures that our lake provides.

To view the video from Nicole Kovar’s presentation, go to:

Monday, February 1, 2021

Ice Out Guesses Due by March 1, 2021

Join the fun! 

Guess the “Ice Out” date for Long Lake this coming spring!  To participate in the fun please send your guess to  The deadline for guesses is March 1.  All those selecting the winning date will be recognized.  A final drawing from ALL participant names by an unbiased observer will select one participant to receive the prize, donated by Monika Wilkins, which will be awarded at the LLAA Annual Meeting in 2021.  Good Luck to all!

Yes we know it looks like this out on the lake now, but think Spring and submit your best guess.