Lake level hard to control

Our dock at the cabin sits high and water only has flowed over the top once in my lifetime.
My father had eyeballed the high water mark to build the dock and reckoned he never would have to worry about putting barrels on it to keep it from floating away in high water.
We certainly have experienced low water, when we could walk under the stringers out to the far crib without getting wet.
Over time, we have acquired a couple of floating docks. One was for my parent’s grandchildren to dive from while the other was found floating deep into a back bay about 15 years ago and had seen better days.
It barely floats above the water.
It was used in the summer of shallow water, when we had to step off the floating dock into mud. We placed planks to create a path across the mud to dry ground but it was really inconvenient.
The dock is very important at almost every cabin. It is used to load and unload boats, as a swimming platform, and it can protect a boat in heavy storms.
You can fish from your dock. It is the place to meet and greet friends arriving for a visit. And after a fishing trip, it is the place where all great fishing tales are born.
It is difficult to control the water levels of Rainy Lake. When the levels were determined, they matched historic snowfalls and rainfalls over a 12-month period.
If the snowfall in the watershed was below expected norms for the winter, the International Joint Commission (IJC) monitoring the Rainy Lake watershed would not lower the lake levels as much as might be expected.
If spring rains in larger amounts came along, the IJC would increase the outflow levels of Rainy Lake.
But if a huge rainfall occurred over the watershed, there is no way the water level can be changed instantly.
In both high water and low water years, the IJC catches blame. In high water, docks disappear under the water. In low water, people can’t park their boats at their docks.
In the year of low water, Mother Nature exploded with a huge upturn in the number of weeds in our bay the next year. And more find their way into the bay every year.
Wild rice, horsetail grass, green cabbage, red cabbage, and coontail seem to have all found a home in our bay.
This year, because the water came up so fast, the growth of the weeds seemed slower than normal.
The weeds grow in the beach area where my mother once planned her young grandchildren would swim. They never swam there.
We throw lures from the dock into those weeds and regularly a northern or a bass will reward us for our efforts. Even an occasional walleye has found its way onto a hook.
We have a rule for fishing from the dock: what’s caught in the bay stays in the bay. We practice only catch-and-release from the cabin dock.
When the water was higher this spring, it was much easier to step in and out of my boat. Since it has receded, I again have to step up.
Everyone seems to guess at dock-building, and perhaps that’s why more people are choosing to install floating docks that rise and fall with the water levels of Rainy Lake.
Your boat always is the same level when tied to the dock. That seems like a perfect solution.

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