The Free Press, Mankato, MN


July 6, 2014

Cross column: No wake, no fish ... no problems on the water

Patience is always a virtue when fishing.

But in recent weeks, anglers have needed a good dose of patience just to reach their favorite fishing spots.

After near-record rainfalls filled area lakes to the brim and beyond, virtually all lakes have been posted as no-wake zones to prevent shoreline erosion. By definition, no-wake regulations require watercraft be operated no faster than is needed to maintain steering and no faster than 5 mph.

Which means it can be a long, leisurely ride to a favorite fishing haunt.

Being forced to throttle back to an idle is not without benefits, however, since no wake means no wakeboarders, water-skiers or personal watercraft buzzing past, either.

But judging by the traffic in some area bait and tackle stores, not a whole lot of anglers are taking advantage of this rare opportunity to fish in relative peace,

“The high water has been affecting everyone’s business around here, restaurants, everybody, but especially at my end,” said Axel Streed, owner of Axel’s Tackle Box in Waterville, a community that has been hit hard by flooding from the nearby Cannon River and Lake Tetonka.

He speculated that homeowners dealing with flooding headaches and campers who have altered vacation plans because of reports of area flooding have been factors.

Likewise, Walt Hohn at Walt’s Hook, Line and Sinker near St. Peter, said his business has been affected by high water, especially on the Minnesota River which is still flowing out of its banks.

“Normally, late June and into July is the best time to fish the river,” he said, adding that in its present state, it is virtually unfishable.

However, Ryan White at White’s Bait and Tackle in Madison Lake, said angler traffic through his door has been steady despite the high water and no-wake edict.

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