Devils Lake Gobbling up farm land

Excerpt from the Crookston Times in Minnesota;

Since 1993, nearby Devils Lake has quadrupled in size, its floodwaters spreading out and swallowing smaller lakes and farmland throughout the region. The lake grew from 44,000 acres to more than 202,000 acres, including those smaller lakes.

But last year, a mini-drought and the expansion of a state-operated outlet system lowered the lake level, bringing new hope to basin farmers as 30,000 to 35,000 acres of farmland resurfaced.

Lower water levels boon for boat ramps

I am reposting Doug Leier’s reporting on low water levels in North Dakota rivers and lakes. Devil’s Lake Basin will have above moisture and in process of becoming ice free. Levels in northeast will be up two feet for season. Posting:

“Even though Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe are approximately 10 feet lower than last year at this time, anglers shouldn’t have a problem finding public access points to launch a boat.

Bob Frohlich, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries development supervisor, said most of the main recreation areas will have a usable boat ramp and provide ample boating access. “Some of the main concrete ramps are out of the water, so anglers will have to use low-water ramps in those areas,” Frohlich said. “While these low-water ramps will certainly be sufficient to get boaters on and off the water, anglers may notice that some may not be as wide or quite as nice as the primary ramps and may be located some distance from the other amenities in the area.”

Many low-water ramps were installed through cooperative efforts during the previous drought, Frohlich said, and are now becoming usable once again as the water level approaches those same elevations.

At Lake Sakakawea, where fisheries biologists expect a banner open-water fishing season, all but two of the 34 recreation sites will have a usable ramp. Only Littlefield Bay and West Totten Trail will be unusable.

All 12 boat ramps will be usable on the Missouri River stretch from Garrison Dam to MacLean Bottoms. “These ramps are usually more reliable as they are not dependent on a lake elevation,” Frohlich said. “The biggest problem with these river ramps is the 2 foot degradation in the river bed that occurred during the 2011 flood, so there’s now 2 feet less water on each ramp with the same exact releases from the dam as there was pre-flood.”

Seven of eight recreation areas will have operational ramps on Lake Oahe from Hazelton to the South Dakota state line. Only the Fort Yates ramp will be unusable. Although fishing may not be as good as last year on Lake Oahe, biologists expect anglers will have good success, albeit smaller fish.

Anglers in the northeast portion of the state are just starting to pull boats out of storage as Devils Lake and many other water bodies are just becoming ice-free. Frohlich said the Devils Lake Basin had above average moisture and is expected to be up 2 feet this summer. “All nine boat ramps are in exceptional shape and will be fully functional,” he added.”

A complete status report of Missouri River and Devils Lake boat ramps is on the Game and Fish website at

Careful, the water is COLD!

These are important words to heed when play boating in cold water. Serious boaters wear wet suits in the water all year round. We never did growing up in the south with summer fun in the water, lakes, rivers, and oceans but now that I have been east, west, and north boating I see the foolishness of my ways. Even in Georgia in the spring the water temperature can be cold enough to induce hypothermia. Ever have your teeth chatter? That’s hyperthermia! Having to walk wet and cold as the sun goes down to retrieve your car after a run on the river can be enough to cause some unpleasant symptoms. If you don’t keep moving trouble is on the way. Do heed this warning from this excerpt about a group boating on Devils Lake recently:

“Even though the air temperatures are summer like, the water temps are still just crawling above freezing.  When you fall into the water cold shock can be instant, cold incapacitation within 2 minutes and hypothermia is not far behind. What’s more, people are not well prepared. What happens if you fall in? Are you actually wearing your life jacket? Do you know how your body reacts to cold water immersion? How will you get to shore?  Do you have warm clothes to change into?  Do you even have access to a dry towel?  As the old cliché’ goes, knowledge is the best piece of safety equipment you can have out there.”

For the whole story go to this link: