Weather Forecast


Low water levels can create problems this fall

The drought type conditions of this summer have taken their toll on our public access to lakes. Last year we had low water conditions that made lake access into some lakes very challenging as we moved from late summer to the fall season. Our low water situation seems to be worse this year. It will create some challenges as lake owners get ready for the fall "put away" time.

Removal of docks and lifts will be a problem for some. If you have difficulty lining up extra hands for the job, contact some of the professional dock and lift services in our area right away, as they will be busy this fall. Be prepared to deal with the low water as you also remove boats, jetskis, and poontoons. You may not be able to powerload your boat, so having some extra help on hand to get your rigs out of the water can save time, frustration, and the possibility of adding to end of season repairs.

It is shallow water wisdom to have a pair of wading boots or tall waterproof boots for launching and loading your boat this fall. It won't be long before the public docks start getting removed for the season, and it is no fun to fish in the cooler or cold weather with wet feet. It will be difficult at some accesses to get the boat close enough to shore that you would be able to reach the bow of the boat without getting your feet in the water.

When coming off the trailer, make sure you trim up quickly so you don't hit the skag or prop on the shallow pile of rocks at the backside of the prop wash holes.

When loading your boat, stay trimed high until getting the nose of your boat onto the trailer and trim down slowly as you power onto your trailer. You may need to hand crank your boat onto your trailer to avoid putting a ding in your propeller at some accesses, as you may not be able to powerload. I have a highly used prop (with a few minor skuffs on it) on my boat now as I fish this shallow water fall season. I don't feel as bad if I put an additional skuff on this prop as I would a new one. It is an alumimum prop and if it gets bad, it can be easily rebuilt for much less expense than the cost of a new propeller.

Don't use a prop that is so bad it is out of balance. Small bends in the blades of the prop can be reshaped with a pliers and carefully applied pressure, and edges can be cleaned up with a file.

Changing out your propeller is very simple. Remove the pin, loosen the nut, and remove the propeller. Make sure you re-install all the parts in the same order as they came off. Before putting your prop back on make sure you have removed any fishing line that may be on the prop shaft. You don't have to get caught in your prop for this to have happened. Unfortunately, some anglers that don't know any better, throw used line overboard to create problems for others. Remember to always dispose of used fishing line properly.

Don't let the shallow water of this fall keep you off the water. Adjust, adapt, prepare, and keep enjoying this great sport.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)