Shallow Waters Cramp Boating on St. Louis River

Posted at: 05/10/2013 5:44 PM
Updated at: 05/10/2013 6:20 PM
By: Travis Dill

The Coast Guard is warning anglers about dangerous boating in the St. Louis River. Last year's flood pulled sediment into the river causing areas of shallow water.

The Coast Guard said some areas of the river near Duluth are only 2 feet deep. That prevented the placement of 7 miles of navigational buoys, but some anglers said the shallow water would not stop them.

Lieutenant Judson Coleman said the Coast Guard cannot stop people from heading out on the river, but he did urge caution.

“We recommend that boaters, if they intend to fish that stretch of water, exercise extreme caution, navigate at slow speeds and be sure to wear their life jackets in the area,” Coleman said.

But iced over lakes pushed more people to the river this year, like Greg Ehrich and his friends.

“We usually to Bemidji, Lake Plantagenet, but that's frozen over still so we made a change and went here this year,” Ehrich said.

His group launched their boat from Boy Scout Landing despite the shallow water.

“It's not going to stop us, no. We're still going to fish, still give it a shot,” Ehrich said.

But locals more familiar with the river said they will stay on shore this weekend. Andy Senarighi of Duluth said he expects many boats to get stuck along the river.

“But we might just bring a tow strap out there and charge $25 for everybody that beaches their boats and pull them out,” Senarighi said.

The buoys usually mark a safe path, but Senarighi said there are just too many unknowns without them.

“When you're so used to seeing the buoys ahead to navigate you just get accustomed to it. So it's not like you know the river like the back of your hand. It's 13 miles long.,” Senarighi said.

Anglers headed out on the river should note the buoys stop just north of Spirit Lake.