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Boat owners itching to get on the water

Ray Olson, driving, and John Warren launch a boat to try out a new motor last weekend. Warm weather has brought anglers to the lake early. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

A warm spring has meant boat owners want to get on the water sooner.

"This is the earliest I can remember" people wanting their boats out of storage, said Charlie Kellner, owner of Charlie's Boats & Marine in Park Rapids.

"Put it this way, we're off to a very good start," said Julie Tabbert, secretary of Johnson's on the Water in Dorset.

Johnson's schedule of customers wishing to pick up their boats or have them delivered is full to the end of the month, she said.

That could change.

'The snowbirds aren't back yet," Kellner said.

"With the fishing opener pushed back a week this year, people just aren't pushing to get their boats in the water," Tabbert said.

Minnesota statutes prescribe that the walleye opener occurs two weeks before Memorial Day weekend. With Memorial Day on May 31 this year, that opener, traditionally over the Mother's Day weekend, is now the weekend after that.

Along with the boats, docks are being rolled out onto the waters, Tabbert said.

Kellner said his marina has been testing out new motors being installed on boats and doing tune-ups so stored watercraft are ready for launch.

"We're probably two weeks ahead of schedule," said Brian Wiese, owner of Dorset Storage. He stores in excess of 100 boats.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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