Plenty of launch space available as peak fishing season nears

Published 3:01 pm Sunday, April 22, 2007

As spring continues to push through, and with summer on the way, fishing and boating are becoming popular activities.

The Miss-Lou offers several lakes for anglers and aqua enthusiasts to enjoy, and several boat launches to help get them to their favorite spots.

Sue Ardoin, boat launch owner on Lake Concordia, said business is really starting to pick up.

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“It’s getting to be that time of the season where we are seeing a lot of people,” she said.

This time of year, Ardoin said Lake Concordia is a hot spot for bream fishermen from Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. She said most locals tend to use the launch more for bass fishing, but added that Lake Concordia is not limited to just bream and bass.

Ardoin charges $4 per launch, and the ramp is open year-round.

She said right now, 6-7 a.m. is usually the busiest time to put a boat in, but some days the launch stays busy all day.

“Sometimes we are busy all day long,” she said. “It just depends on the weather.”

Sheryl Neely, who owns Neely’s Spokane Resort on Lake St. John with her husband Jim, charges $4 per launch.

Their launch is open all year long even though the store where an attendant collects money is only open March through November.

“We use an honor system box when an attendant is not on duty,” Neely said.

From March to June, she said the boat launch stays busy with mostly fishermen, but from May through Labor Day, the resort sees more college kids and families using the ramp for recreational boating.

The resort not only offers a private launch, it also has cabin, cottage and pontoon boat rentals, as well. Neely said that also keeps her and her husband busy.

“Right now, between tournament fishermen, the regulars and bream fishermen, things have been about the same. No better, no worse,” she said.

One boat launch that has seen a decline in activity has been the Lake Bruin launch in St. Joseph. Kelley Romero said this year the launch is not usable because of the recession of Lake Bruin’s water level.

“Last year the water level was dropped, and access to the canal was blocked,” she said.

The ramp will reopen once the canal is dredged, but Romero said she did not know when that might take place.

She said boaters can still launch on Lake Bruin, but must do so from Lake Bruin State Park, located a mile from her launch.