Boat access trickier from the river, but do-able; Anglers Cup should be okay
One of the area’s major walleye tournaments was canceled due to low water at Spruce Point Park marina. The other big one – Slave Lake’s Anglers Cup – had not been canceled, and organizers were hoping last week’s rain would make the difference.
But for the Larry Dahlgren Memorial tournament, there just wasn’t enough depth at Spruce Point to make it safe.
“I hate to do it,” said organizer Scott Dahlgren. “But the water’s not deep enough. I can’t have guys damaging $150,000 boats.”
Dahlgren said on May 23 there was about 1.4 feet of water in the channel from the marina into the lake. Even jet boats were an iffy proposition.
“I had a guy go out in a jet boat,” Dahlgren said, “and he had to stop and clean sand out of his jets. Not good.”
Angie Iverson of the Anglers Cup committee says they are keeping a close eye on the outlet from Lesser Slave River into the lake. As of May 23, the June 16 and 17 tournament was still on. The decision to cancel or go ahead would be made pretty soon, she said, by a committee, and with expert advice.
“It’s too early to call,” she said. “We’re nervous.”
Grant Gramiak, of Norm’s Walleye Camp said – also on May 23 – that launching into the river at the municipal boat launch was working well enough. As for getting from the river out into the lake, he said, that was okay too, “but you have to be very careful.”
There’s a “little channel” through the sand bar that has to be navigated before reaching the deeper water of the lake. Years ago, in similar circumstances, somebody marked that channel. Nobody took responsibility for it, but it seemed to help boaters find their way through safetly.
Gramiak says there was 18 – 20 inches of water in the channel, and boaters had been telling him it was sufficient. He was hoping the May 22 and 23 rain would add a bit to that depth.
Another thing Gramiak has been hearing from anglers is that the low lake level has exposed some rock bars near Dog Island, or perhaps just brought them near the surface.
“Be very careful,” he advised.
Getting back to the walleye tournaments, Dahlgren is still hoping to have the Elite Classic at Slave Lake on June 21 and 22.
by Joe McWilliams
May 31, 2023