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Have patience at the boat launch

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This weekend is one of the busiest weekends of the year in the Detroit Lakes area. There will be more boat traffic at all the area boat ramps. It is a good time to practice patience. Some boaters do not launch their boat more than a few times a year and are not as proficiant as some of us regulars. Be polite, and offering an expert hand is sometimes very welcome.

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For those of you that don't launch your boats regularly, this is a reminder to not get in line for the ramp until you have taken care of all the little details like un-strapping your boat, loading coolers, putting in fishing equipment, lifejackets, water toys, and other boating equipment. Doing these activities while you are on the ramp does affect the efficiency of the ramp activity and appears very selfish.

When you pull out of the water, pull up and away from the ramp to stow and strap. This will also be the time to check your trailer and clean off weeds, pull your drain plug, and empty the livewell.

Remember, as of July 1, the new "Pick it or Ticket" aquatic invasive species law goes into effect. The water draining law is intended to prevent the spread of fish diseases like VHS, and invasive species such as zebra mussels, spiny water fleas, flowering rush, and milfoil. You can't transport lake water from any lakes. You can transfer minnows into well water or spring water. Bait from bait buckets that have been in the water must also be transferred to other containers of well water or disposed of at the access. Enforcement will be stepped up over the next weeks, and fines may range from $50 to $1000.

I will admit that this season, I have launched my boat several times without the plug in. I pull my plug after fishing and after years of never having to do this I am not in the habit of putting it back in the boat before putting it in the water. Thankfully, I have an auto bilge pump that immediately reminds me of how forgetful I can be. All of these new behaviors will become second nature to us after a season of practice.

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