'No Wake' Means not as Many Boaters, Less Business on Lake Minnetonka

Updated: 06/06/2014 6:54 PM
Created: 06/06/2014 6:46 PM
By: Cassie Hart

For the first time, the Lake Minnetonka Water Conservation District imposed a "no wake restriction" for all of the Metro's biggest and often busiest lake.

The no wake rule means jet skiing and water skiing are definite no-no's until further notice.

"I can't go boating but I can go floating," according to Dwight Pattison.  It's not how he expected to start the summer season.  He still launched his boat just to get out on the water.  Others saw the minimum wake sign, turned around and drove back home.

"I can't operate, I can't put people on the lake," said Ken Pittel, owner of Bay Rentals in Mound. His jet skis are sitting idle, with cob webs on them instead of lake water.

The no wake restriction hasn't just hurt, it's killed his jet ski rental business. He turned away five customers in person and called to cancel even more reservations over the phone. 

We only saw two boats on the water. 5 Eyewitness News was in one of them with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. Deputies were puttering along reminding folks 5 mph is the max.

Since the restriction went into place, Deputies have written one ticket. It cost $178. Like a lot of people, the sheriff is keeping a close eye on the lake level. "The lake is up 18 inches over what it was last year, the lake needs to drop approximately eight inches from where it is now."

Extra patrols will be out this weekend for the muskie fishing opener.

In order for the emergency restrictions to be lifted, water levels need to stay at 930.30 feet for three days in a row. At last check, they were at 930.62 feet.

"I'm in my 20th year with the agency, and this is the first time we've had to do this," said Greg Nybeck with the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District.

A "no wake" order was also issued for the St. Croix River from Taylors Falls to Prescott on Tuesday. 

Stearns County issued a "no wake" advisory for all lakes.

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