We are just getting to the end of a hot stretch of weather that looks like it will last for several more days. When we get temperatures into the 80s and up to 90 degrees with 65-75% humidity (or even higher), it is easy to get dehydrated when out fishing on the lakes.
Most times it is far more comfortable on the water then it can be on shore, and it is easy to lose track of just how much exposure you are getting to the conditions.
Light winds sweeping across mid-70 degree water helps us feel more comfortable out in the sun. The wind also dries us out, and dehydration can set in before you realize it is happening to you. Drinking coffee, pop, or beer won’t get your hydration done in the sun!
Many times I need to remind clients in the boat to drink water. It can be more comfortable on the water and we just don’t realize the dehydration that is going on in the sun, heat, wind, and humidity. Having water or replenishing drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, Axe Water, or Vitamin water is important to stay hydrated and avoid heat stroke.
I was told many years ago to drink plenty of water, and when I think I am full, drink more. In the early years I suffered from heat stroke from not hydrating enough and received the preventative advice. Heat stroke is terrible, and you don’t need to experience it to make smarter decisions when you are on the water.
Muscle cramps can also be a symptom of needing to take in more fluids. Start drinking water or replenishing drinks before you feel thirsty or think you need to, and drink more than you think you need
I have experienced women not being willing to hydrate in the boat as they don’t want to have to go to the bathroom or inconvenience others in the boat. Hydrate anyway! Make the boat captain take you in if you need to go! Almost all accesses have porta potties, and many of the area lakes have businesses that have public restrooms.
Using hats for shade, and covering skin in light clothing (and light colored clothing) can also help you stay cooler in hot weather and bright sunshine.
Even 80 degrees when we have clear skies and bright sunshine can make it feel like 90 (especially with the humidity levels we have here). Splitting up the day on the water, if you can do it, can also help by getting you out of the midday heat and sun.
This time of the season it is easy to be comfortable and less at risk by getting off the water by 11 a.m. and more comfortable later in the afternoon or early evening when the sun is getting lower in the sky.
The last few hours before sunset can be comfortable, beautiful, and typically more productive fishing than in the middle of the day.
Enjoy the lakes and the beautiful weather, but make good decisions.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)