Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Twentieth Annual
May 2002
Blown' Steam
by Wesley Bosch

Over the years, my interests in small engines, steam engines, hot air engines, etc. has continued to grow.  So while volunteering on the restoration of the Minnehaha Steamboat (in Minnetonka, MN) in the early 1990's, I met a gentleman by the name of Tim who was also volunteering on the restoration project.  We found that we had many common interests and a friendship developed.  Tim introduced me to the world of steamboats through the Vada Grace (his steamboat) which is an extension of my interests in steam engines.
As my interests in steamboats grew I knew that I was not going to be content with just working on and sharing another's steamboat and began the search for my own.  Through a friend I learned of a steamboat that was "for sale" near his home of Plano, Texas.  While visiting this friend in 1996, I was able to purchase the small steamboat that hadn't been used for many years and was in need of a boiler.  Through an extensive search I was able to locate a suitable boiler in Colorado.  So began our next road trip to retrieve the needed boiler.  After some hard work my first steam engine and boat were ready to steam around Lake Carrie, located near my home.
Three years ago, Tim decided to build another steamboat and offered me an opportunity to purchase the Vada Grace.  Of course, I jumped at the chance and purchased my second steamboat.  The Vada Grace is a twenty-foot Side-Wheeler powered by a four-horse steam engine.  Its top speed is about thirteen miles an hour.  The hull is a Sharpe style, the same type of hull as whalers used.  The Vada Grace's boiler takes about an hour to build up enough steam to rotate the side wheels, but once the boiler is heated up it is very easy to maintain speed.
I enjoy taking the Vada Grace out on a nice summer Sunday afternoon and glide across the lake.  Although she is not a speedboat, for a quiet relaxing ride, nothing could be better.
Peter Ostroushko Lice & Free in Atwater, Saturday, June 15
2:00 pm ... right after the parage ... Outdoors, Downtown ... bring lawn chairs
(in case of rain, Revy's upstairs)

As part of Atwater Festival Day, Peter Ostroushko, known best in Minnesota for his many appearances on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show, will be performing a free concert in town.  Ostroushkjo, described as one of the finest mandolin and fiddle players in acoustic music, has played across North America and Europe and on over a thousand albums, with everyone from Bob Dylan to Willie Nelson, John Hartford and Tah Mahal.  His repertoire runs the gamut from Old World folk to classical, jazz, bluegrass and swing.  His performance is being made possible by the Tom & Ruth Danielson Foundation (former Diamond Lake residents) and the Atwater State Bank.  As Jethro (Homer & Jethro) Burns put it, "Go out of your way to see Pete"
Final Report

The officially entitled "Diamond Lake Rehabilitation Project, program Summary and Final Report, December 2001" is now complete.  The Report was required by the terms of the Clean Water Partnership grant the Lake Association received to improve the condition of the lake.  The grant period ran from April 1997 to April 2001.  So, did we accomplish anything?  If you read the Report (a copy is available in the Atwater State Bank's Covell Building) many different activities were implemented:
*  Homeowner projects such as soil testing and buffer strip landscaping
*  Septic tank maintenance, encouraged through information published in this newsletter
*  Wetland restoration, assisted with deepening of the slough at County Roads 4 & 26
*  Hubbard Lake Chain improved through purchase of reverse aeration equipment
*  No Wake Zone established for Dogfish Bay
*  Aquatic Plant management by means of curly leaf pondweed cuttings
*  Fish projects including fish trap maintenance and carp removal.
However, a number of proposals were not realized:
*  Erosion control at construction sites
*  Feedlot management improvement
*  Agricultural best management practices.
This quick review can probably lead to varying interpretations.  On the one hand, some might feel that water quality hasn't improved.  We still have algae blooms in mid to late summer.  It has been said that fishing isn't as good as it used to be.  On the other hand, serious efforts have been make to correct problems.  Water clarity readings, on average, show improvement.  The alternative is to do nothing.
To be sure, more work remains to be done.  All the activities, implemented or not, can use additional work.  But the sad truth is that Association Board members are spread too thin.  We need more help.  If we don't get it, some work will remain undone.  It is also true that lake improvement efforts are long term: winter weather conditions and seasonal rainfall have a great deal to do with water quality.  Also, farming practices in the Diamond Lake watershed will affect conditions.  Whether water quality can be improved in the long run may be an unanswerable question.
For the record, actual dollars spent were $35,626 from the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) and $3,547 from the Lake Association.  These grants are matching, but match equivalents can be on the in-kind variety.  Some of the expenses picked up by the DNR were applied to our match if they fell into one of our project categories.  The total project cost, including in-kind services, was $134,353.  The Association has been awarded another $25,000 matching grant.  Enclosed elsewhere in this issue is a dues form with an opportunity for interested person to volunteer their help.
Lookout, It's A Trap!
by Dave Solbrack and Miles Perower

The carp trap in the southeast corner of Diamond Lake was installed in the 1940's.  Over the many years, many tons of rough fish have been removed from the trap.  Carp, bullheads, dogfish, etc. stir up the bottom of Diamond and the small lakes to the east.  This activity keeps the nutrients, especially the phosphates, mixing in the water column instead of settling out on the bottom.  The result is the blue green algae scum that blooms on the lake surface in the summer as well as poor water clarity in general.  Diamond Lake becomes weed choked and the smaller lakes weedless due to a lack of light.
Over the years, the trap has deteriorated.  The DNR no longer maintains it.  However, the Lake Association, with the help of Kevin Gruenhagen, Bill Schultz, Lowell Skoglund, Steve Meyer and others, along with the DNR's Bruce Gilbertson are working on restoring the trap to its original purpose.  Dale Kragenbring of Atwater was hired to build some new gates.  After restoring the trap, the plan is to let rough fish remaining in the small lakes during the winter months freeze out, and trap them between the gates as they try to run upstream in the spring.  Once trapped, they will be removed by Association volunteers and/or professionals hired to remove and dispose of them.  The removal is particularly difficult work as some of the carp can weigh up to 30 pounds!
In April of this year only one of the gates was operational!  Carp gathered at the lake side trying to run upstream, and northern pike were on the other side, trying to return to the lake after spawning.  The above mentioned volunteers managed to temporarily restore the eastern gates and open up the lake side gates, with the result that the northerns made it back into the lake while the carp are still trapped at a gate.
Those interested in working on the project can contact any of the above named volunteers, as well as Tom Deadrick who is hoping to contract with a commercial operator to dispose of the fish.  The Association has authorized an expenditure for the purpose, as well as another to erect "No Fishing" signs along the trap inlet.
How to Cook A Carp
Weston, West Virginia
Carp Fishing Festival - June 7 - 8 - 9, 2002
by the Corpulent Carp Connosewer (www.whawradio.com)

Those who will come to Weston June 7-8 to participate in the Carp Fishing Tournament will be after the biggest fish they can find, but bigger isn't better when it comes to 'cookin' carp.  One for the reasons stated above, big old carp aren't very tasty and their meat is tough, and Two the big'uns are heavy and hard to handle, keep sliding off the sideboard of the sink, and don't fit very well into my frying pans and baking dishes.  Small pan sized carp in the two to three pound range are easier to handle and much tastier.

The first thing you do is remove the entrails.  When eviscerating (gutting) the carp be VERY careful not to puncture the two "dirt lines" (broad dark colored and vein-like structures) that run along either side the interior of the spine or vertebrae (it's actually the fish intestine), as this will make the fist taste really bad.  Split the fish into two halves, by cutting on either side of the spine and intestine, insert your knife under both and very carefully separate them from the body of the fish, lift them out and throw the "dirt line" far away.  Next slice off the head and tail.  I'm told European cooks leave the skin on the carp and remove the scales (which is a lot easier because their carp species don't have as many scales as their American cousins) but here in West Virginia, we insert a very sharp, very thin fillet knife just under the skin at the tail section, cut toward the head, and remove the skin, scales and fins in one swipe.  Another good reasons for removing the skin in that PCB's and pesticides tend to be stored in the fat of fish.  A substantial amount of fat is located just under the skin of the fish, and because of this, a boneless skinless fillet, should be prepared for cooking.  A boneless, skinless fillet - - with the fat layer along the belly flap and midpoint of the back removed - - will limit the amount of any contaminates you consume.
If you're partial to the skin, or not worried about contaminants in the fat tissue, you can remove the scales but it's a hard messy job.  Leave the tail on, place the fish outside up, on a solid piece of heavy wood and drive a large nail through the tail.  Take a long heavy bladed knife, potato peeler, or cheese grater and scrape from the tail section towards the head.  It's best to wear goggles and a bathing cap while doing this, as the scales will break off and fly into your face and hair and all over the room.  You should do this in your bathtub with the shower curtain closed, or if your spouse objects, go outdoors and place a large plastic tarpaulin on the ground and sit in the center while scaling.  This makes it easier to clean up, and eliminates the problem of attracting neighborhood cats who otherwise will hang around your yard for days.

The next problem is getting rid of all the bones.  A carp is a "very" bony fish making it difficult to clean, fillet, and ultimately to eat.  If you fillet the fish carefully you can eliminate most of the larger structural support bones such as the spine and rubs.  As you eat you use your fork or fingers to further flake off strips of meat, and chew slowly so you can find the smaller bones.  With practice you will find filleting and eating carp as easy as eating chicken.
As you fillet the skin and scales off the meat of each carp halve you will be left with a portion of fish six to eight inches long, by 3 to 4 inches wide per half.  Section each fillet strip into four to six smaller steaks or pieces, each approximately a 3X5 inch rectangular size or the shape of a commercial fish sandwich fillet.  Each portion will be from ¾ inch to one-and-a-half inches thick.
Carp, like other fish can be fried, baked, broiled or roasted, each country has it's own special way of cooking the carp.  Next time some of my favorite West Virginia "Redneck Recipes" for carp.  Meanwhile send me some of your favorites and I'll include them here.

Phosphorous Free Fertilizer
by Joan Schultz

It's the time of year we start thinking about beautiful green lawns.  As lake partners we want to keep our lakes blue and clean, not green with algae.  What is the best type of fertilizer to use on lawns around our lakes?  The best is phosphorous free fertilizer.  That means when considering the purchase of a bag of fertilizer, the middle number of the 3 numbers shown should be "0".
Minnesota generally has soils rich in phosphorous.  The only way to really know is through soil testing.  Kits are available from the University of Minnesota Extension Service on the second floor of the Human Services Building north of Willmar (231-7890).  A fee of $7 is charged for soil analysis.  To take a sample, dig below the root surface in a couple of different locations front side and back yard.  You need about 2 teaspoons from each location.  Mix together and keep cool until you are ready to send to the Extension Service.
Central Lakes Cooperative carries "Clear Lake Phosphate Free Lawn Food".  Phosphate Free can also be found at Stacy's Nursery on East Highway 12 in Willmar and at Green Lake Nursery on Lake Avenue in Spicer.  Let's all become responsible lake partners and do what we can to clean up our lakes.

The ice went off the lake on the night of April 14-15.  The evening of April 15 the first motor boat was sighted.  The evening of April 16 the first water-skiers were out.  The first dock went up on April 19.  The first swimmer has yet to dive in, the summer must be upon us.
The Atwater EDA (Economic Development Authority) has new attractive rental units available on the northeast side of town at a reasonable price.  Contact Bob Meyerson (974-8861) or Mark Olson (974-8419) for details.
The Association has a web site, thanks to Judy Christensen: www.diamondlakeassociation.homestead.com.  Check out DNR information, maps, weather, ice out dates and more.  I also favor the carp site: www.whawradio.com.  If readers know of other lake issue related sites, let us know.
We have a small supply of our Awareness Project brochures, Association Directories, old issues of the "Diamond Lake News" and the Arbor Day Foundation's "How to Save Trees During Construction" available at the Covell Building (next to the Atwater State Bank).  Stop by for copies  Bob is usually around all day Friday.  All these items have been sent to those on the mailing list in the past 2 years.
In the bad news department, Jennifer Davenport has resigned as secretary of the Board in order to spend more time with her family, as the say.  Only this time it's the truth, with 2 weddings, a family reunion and other obligations this summer.  She did a great job, and we are hoping that if we all remain real quiet she will return to her position next yearkind of reminds of President Grover Cleveland.
Our main improvement projects this year will be:
*  Shoreland Landsacaping & Shoreland Inventory
*  Agricultural Best Management Practices
*  Hubbard Lake Chain Improvement
*  Curlyleaf Cutting
*  Inlet Carp Control. 

If you would like to work on any of these, please note it on the dues tear-off sheet enclosed.