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Water levels on MN lakes could present challenges for waterfowl hunters

Boat launches are harder to access for larger boats, and low water levels mean obstructions are closer to the surface.
Boat launches may be more difficult for some boats due to low water levels across the state. 

Boat launches may be more difficult for some boats due to low water levels across the state. 

Waterfowl hunters, beware: Water levels on many lakes are low, which could present challenges. 

The Minnesota DNR this week warned about one lake specifically — Pelican Lake in Wright County — but other lakes are also lower than normal, so hunters and boaters could face similar challenges. 

Related [Aug. 12]: With water levels extremely low at some lakes, is it already time to take the boat off the water?

The statewide drought, which has hindered boat access to some lakes across Minnesota due to low water levels, combined with a multi-year habitat restoration project has made conditions at Pelican Lake's two public accesses "not easily useable by all watercraft," the DNR said. 

Larger boats may not be able to launch, the DNR says. 

The newer boat access on Fallon Avenue Northeast in the Pelican Lake Wildlife Management area remains usable for smaller boats that can be moved a short distance by hand. The other boat access near 40th Street Northeast on the southwest side of the lake is useable for smaller boats but parking is limited. 

Related [Aug. 18]: 3 rescued after boat gets stuck in mud in northern Minnesota river

The water levels on Pelican Lake are so low because the DNR has been doing a multi-level drawdown aimed at restoring critical waterfowl habitat on the lake. This is the last year of the drawdown. The DNR says with average amounts of precipitation, the lake should return to its normal level by next year. 

Until then, though, waterfowl hunters and others should keep an eye on boat launching conditions and adjust plans as needed. 

The restoration project is funded by the Outdoor Heritage Fund through a partnership between the DNR and Ducks Unlimited. It has already led to a resurgence of invertebrate populations and the reestablishment of lush sands of aquatic vegetation. 

Those who frequent the lake have noted increases in the numbers of waterfowl using the lake as a stopover during spring and fall migrations.

The Minnesota DNR has tips about boat launches when water levels are low, and reminds boaters and swimmers that when water levels are low, obstructions like logs and other things are closer to the surface, which can be dangerous. 

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