Remember water temps still cold this time of year

Mother Nature can be a teaser as evidenced recently by temperatures in the 80s and only a couple days later, the thermometer barely going into the 50s with a brisk north wind making the day utterly miserable and frigid.

Those warmer days can tease paddlers and boaters into making some common mistakes as they head to the water. As the weather begins to warm each spring, it is quite common for boaters to head out on the water unprepared for the conditions as the weather warms each spring. The water temperature is still frigid. Hypothermia is just one way that boaters die each spring.

Incidents this spring in different situations have proven that.

A pair of kayakers in Alaska fortunately had enough power left on a cellphone to call for help when they realized they could not complete a planned trip. They were not dressed for cold nighttime temperatures.

A Michigan angler using a kayak with a trolling motor and a heavy battery capsized when his kayak took on water from a wave on Lake Michigan.

This incident occurred shortly after noon in late April. The 28-year-old man was only in the water 10 minutes and was struggling. He was not wearing a life jacket. Fortunately someone saw him and called 911 for help.

He displayed early signs of hypothermia. The water temperature was 42 degrees and the air was 43. Fortunately, he was rescued by a Michigan DNR vessel and transported to the hospital by a waiting EMS crew.

The third incident in late April occurred in Iowa and involved a family of four. Wearing life jackets saved their lives as they were able to swim to shore.

The family’s raft had capsized on a lake around 5 p.m. Strong winds gusting to more than 35 mph and cold water made it difficult as the family struggled to get to shore.

“Just as we saw in this incident, the simple act of wearing a Personal Flotation Device could absolutely save your life and the lives of your friends and family members,” said Jason Hyde, Iowa DNR Park Ranger. “The appearance or inconvenience are no excuse for risking your life.”

Boaters and paddlers should always check the weather before going on an outing. Be sure to look at the immediate weather forecast as well as the extended forecast; weather can change in a matter of hours during the spring. Be prepared for it. The National Weather Service offers local and statewide current and extended marine weather forecasts on their website, which are broadcast on VHF marine-band radios.

Dress for the water temperature. Though the air may be warming up, the water is still cold and does not rise above low 50s even at the height of summer. Wet suits and dry suits offer protection against hypothermia in the event of immersion in the water. Thermal protection against the effects of cold-water shock can save your life.

* * *

Lima area wild turkey hunters continue to fare much better than their counterparts in other areas of the state following two weeks of the annual spring season.

Locally, hunters checked in 373 wild turkeys through May 3 compared to 341 checked during the same period in 2019 season. Statewide hunters checked in 11,292 wild turkeys through May 3 while hunters harvested 12,427 wild turkeys during the same time frame in 2019.

Seven of the nine local counties continue to show an increase over a year ago.

Auglaize County showed the largest increase with 34 checked this year compared to 22 checked during the same period last year. The other six counties showing an increase with numbers from this year compared to numbers in 2019 in parenthesis were: Allen with 56 (50). Hancock 30 (24), Hardin 68 (66), Logan 82, (76), Mercer 21 (15) Shelby 31 (28).

On the down side, 39 turkeys were checked in Putnam County compared to 43 a year ago and a total of 12 were checked in Van Wert compared to 17 in 2019.

* * *

The Kalida Fish and Game Gun Extravaganza has been rescheduled for Aug. 22. The event had been scheduled for June 13 but the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic and Gov. Mike DeWine’s distancing measures forced the rescheduling.

In the event the social distancing guidelines will be extended past Aug. 22, the drawing for prizes will take place on the Internet on that date. Anyone still selling tickets or purchasing them should take note of that date.

For updates on the event, check the Kalida Fish and Game website at or the club’s Facebook page.

* * *

Action for white bass has been hot on the Sandusky River in Fremont, according to sources, and anglers from outside that area can get in on the run since access is back to normal.

Fremont Mayor Danny Sanchez reopened access to all city owned access points and Sandusky County Parks has reopened access to River Cliff Park.

“We believe the public has been provided adequate information on how to protect ourselves from this disease and reduce the spread to others,” Sanchez said Tuesday.

Anglers are reminded the no fishing zone between Rodger Young Park and he Old Ballville Dam has been removed. Anglers may fish this section of the river from public access sites. Anglers are not to enter the river through private property.

Best baits for the white bass have been 1/8 ounce jigs with pearl or green twister tails.

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Post navigation