Due to the late ice-out, repair crews may not able to get to all Department of Natural Resources (DNR) boat launches in time for the May 11 fishing opener, particularly in northern Minnesota where many of the large lakes still have ice.
Each spring, Parks and Trails Division crews inspect and repair launch ramps and install docks.
“This work cannot be done until the ice is off the lake, and it can take a couple of weeks to get to every site in each work area,” said Nancy Stewart, public water access program coordinator. “It may be wise for boaters to call ahead for the latest report on the water body and access they plan to use.”
Meanwhile, most public water accesses at lakes in the metro area and south will be ready for boaters.
Stewart offers these suggestions for the opener:
* Be patient at the boat ramp and use extra care while launching and loading boats.
* Have hip boots or waders and a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket available to wear when entering the water to help guide boat and trailer, especially where docks are not yet available.
* If a person’s traditional fishing opener lake is not ready, they should have a back-up plan.
* Operate boats carefully, because there could be free-floating ice sheets and debris on some lakes, creating unsafe boating conditions.
* Do not go on top of ice.