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Best and busy summer weeks ahead In the Park Rapids area

Hubbard County AIS Inspector Chuck Schaapveld watches as John and Barb Lehco load their canoe after an inspection. AIS inspectors like Schaapveld ask the public's patience as it be necessary for wait a short time before getting inspected. (Gary Korsgaden / For the Enterprise)

Richard L. Gilbert sums it up this way in the March issue of Wyoming Wildlife. "The way we act when in the field or forest, on lakes or beside streams speaks either eloquently or disparagingly about our character"

I can't think of a busier time on Park Rapids area lakes than the next five to six weeks with people coming to the region intent on enjoying what Park Rapids has to offer. Wanting to have a good time with friends and family? It's the best times of summer but also comes with inconvenience and some risk or sacrifice on each of our part. Increased boating traffic on our area lakes raises the chances of spreading aquatic invasive species. Inspecting each vessel thoroughly creates longer wait times at our public access points. Be considerate of others by cooperating with the inspector in an effort to shorten the time. For example: Pull into the access when ready to do so, wait until you're next to be checked to put in the plug, and be sure the inspector sees you.

Anglers are best to enjoy peak fishing hours of just before sunrise until approximately 9:00 and then again just an hour or so before dark. This leaves times in between for those intent on enjoying other on-the-water activities. Early morning and evenings is primetime for kayakers also, non-motorized vessels that hug low to the surface of the water requiring a sharp eye to see. Like sail boats and canoes that use "human and wind power" they have the right of way always. It is advised to stay clear from all non motorized crafts. Meeting any man or wind-powered boat, steer away from their course and always give a wide berth.

Long lake, a favorite mid-summer fishing and recreational body of water sees a frequent lack of understanding to the rules of the water or "right of way." When meeting an oncoming boat always pull to the right. Coming out of the south access, located in the town of Hubbard, is an example of what I mean. Boats and pontoons either entering or leaving the narrows commonly cross in front of the paths of an oncoming boat instead of staying right. Good advice to throttle down, first to be safe, at times hard to see boats coming out or in. Second, it reduces the vessel's wake with less wave action coming to shore. A good practice to follow is throttling down as you reach the visible stumps coming in or going out idle until the stumps are reached then wait to speed up until on the open lake.

Respect for the resource should never be overlooked. Watch for loons with their young. Anglers who enjoy catching and and releasing a lot of fish, like walleyes, mortality of released rises when water temperatures reach the high 60s and low 70s and fish are caught in 30 feet of water and deeper. Any fish to be released, the process needs to be quick, getting the fish back in the water as soon as possible.

Each one of us can be a good example to others. At times a friendly reminder is a good course of action, other times it may be necessary then best to let the authorities know of any violations so they can react accordingly. Consideration of the resource and others will insure our enjoyment now and in the future.