MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The rising waters are causing trouble on Lake Minnetonka. The no wake restriction has been in effect for almost two weeks. The water is so high boats aren’t allowed to open up on the lake.
Since there are less boats on the water, that translates into lost revenue for businesses who rely on boaters.
This is Kirby Horgan’s second summer working as a docker at Lord Fletcher’s.
“Usually we’re touching a boat every 10 seconds,” Horgan said.
This year is different.
“Now…we’ll be sitting in our chairs for a long time during out shifts,” Horgan said.
General manager Tom Emer said the no wake restriction for all of Lake Minnetonka spills over to businesses. Fewer boats means dockers and servers are cut early.
“It’s about 25 percent of our business, and so when that’s down well over 50 percent, the servers take a hit and the whole operation as well,” Emer said.
“It’s almost empty really, because it takes so long to get across the lake,” server Katie Karlberg said.
Karlberg said college students depend on tips from the typical influx of boaters, “for rent, car payments, anything.”
The recent rain doesn’t help either. Not with the lake level or customers. Bay Rentals in Mound didn’t bother to open on Wednesday. Jet skis drive the business. And without customers, the owner said they can’t afford to pay employees.
The owner of D & H Bait, Dusty Hafner, said the no wake restriction hurts the pocketbook, but he hopes anglers will realize this is a perfect time to enjoy Minnetonka.
“It’s one of the rare opportunities people get to not have to worry about the pleasure boaters and the jet skis,” Hafner said.
They all hope the lake will go down, and bring the boaters.
“It’s a very short season, and this only makes it shorter,” Emer said.
Lord Fletcher’s is getting creative in its attempt to get people in the door. They will have “Break the Wake” specials on Sunday afternoon’s until the wake restriction is lifted.