Boaters enjoy the holiday weekend

MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s not been a perfect summer on Lakes Freeman and Shafer this summer, where water levels have fluctuated at times and cold temps and rain have lingered around. But the season finished strongly for both lakes with a good Labor Day weekend.

The holiday weekend is the unofficial end to summer and that means one last hurrah for boaters.

“The season pretty much ends Labor Day weekend. Now there’s another weekend after Labor Day, or next weekend, that we’re open. But after that, it pretty much falls off,” said Larry Blaser, owner of Lake Shafer Boat Rentals.

Blaser said despite this summer’s unpredictable weather, business was strong.

“It’s been a little bit chilly sometimes and it’s been a little bit rainy at other times, but it’s been a successful summer up here in Monticello,” said Blaser.

Another factor that might have kept boaters away was the changing lake levels. As News 18 has reported, the federal government mandates that Oakdale Dam on lake Freeman keep its water flow of 500 cubic feet per second down the Tippecanoe River to protect endangered mussels.

Because of a broken floodgate at Norway Dam, Lake Shafer had dropped two feet about a week and a half ago.

Conservation Officer Clay Webb said the lakes were busy this holiday weekend.

“Had a very good weekend — a lot of boat traffic, no accidents — fortunately, nobody was hurt. No arrests for boating while intoxicated or anything like that, a few minor infractions and that was it, so a very good weekend overall,” said Webb.

Both Webb and Blaser said now that the weekend’s wrapped up, it’s time to start thinking about this winter.

“This is definitely kind of the high point of the season. Everybody gets into that last ditch run, and then after this it will start dropping off dramatically,” said Webb.

“Fall is beginning to pull all the boats off. It takes about a month and a half to pull all the boats and cold weather sets in,” said Blaser.

The possibility for cold weather sports on the lakes is still months away, but after several years where snowmobiling on the frozen lakes was difficult, Webb said last winter was ideal. He said with predictions for another cold winter, officers are expecting to be out again in a few months.

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