Memorial Day weekend has come and gone and the official start to summer has started. Most schools will be done soon if they aren’t yet, and lake activity will continue to increase. Just like fishing opener was very busy, the lakes had high activity compared to last year’s holiday. With things opening up more and people’s enthusiasm to gather and share time together, all lake activity will increase, not just fishing.
The last several years most anglers, boaters, canoe and kayak enthusiasts, and others on the lake have experienced the increase in the popularity and number of wakeboard boats on the area lakes.
I am sure I will ruffle a few feathers and make myself unpopular with some by sharing my views from the crow’s nest on this topic. So be it. Just hoping to create some awareness that can help with concerns that might not be thought about by wake boat operators.
I agree that everybody has the right to lake access and lake activities. I do not deny your right to the lake or your enjoyment. It is about awareness of responsibility. Just like most would object to getting buzzed by a jet ski, having skiers slalom too close, a fishing boat cut in front of tubers, or tubers swamping kayakers -- we all have to be aware of how our boat operation impacts others.
One of the problems some of us have experienced with wakeboard boats is the lack of a clear understanding of wake responsibility. I know those that partake are entertained by their experience, but you do not entertain us when you come close or circle our boats when we are sharing space on the lake.
I have had some elderly customers just about go overboard from wake boats coming close and waking us. Numbers of customers have lost balance and been knocked down or into seats at the surprise size of the passing wake.
All boats are supposed to be wake responsible and when your boat throws a significant wake, it is even more critical. The power generated by these boats generates a significant tsunami type wave under water as well as a high wave on top. That power in water under the surface in 12 feet of water or less is impacting the weed lines that grow out to that depth, like the cabbage and coon tail weeds.
You can see and experience the amount of weeds knocked loose after the wake boats have been surfing friends and family in shallow water. Please move the activity to deeper water to preserve the aquatic plants that are so vital to the health of our lakes. Moving to deeper water will also reduce the impact on docks, lifts, boats, and shoreline areas impacted by the significant wave action.
Numbers of studies and concerns about wakeboard boat activity have been completed and are also underway. If you own one of these boats, run one, or participate in the activity, it may be prudent to get a jump on some of the anticipated information and concerns they will reflect.
My thinking is that running the boats on larger bodies of water, staying in deeper water, and keeping a good distance from other boaters would just be a good and respectful practice.
The weather has transitioned to also reflect we are into a summer pattern of not just the weather, but fish location as well. Look for walleyes to be out of edges and on long extending points and also moving to mid-lake structure. Crappies are out on the edges of flats and relating to cabbage weed. Bass have moved off beds but are still active in shallow water. Gils in the weeds. Northern are active shallow, but the bigger fish are in deeper water.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)