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Boating Season Begins, But Lake Water Temps Are Pushing Off Swimming

WAYZATA, Minn. (WCCO) -- We know the itch to put your boat in the water is strong right now.

Even though it's starting to feel like summer, authorities say "stay alert." There's a threat in the water, and above it, that could put a damper on early boating season.

Gray's Bay public boat launch on Lake Minnetonka was packed Friday afternoon as dozens put their boats in for the first time this season, including James Burchard.

"[I got a] couple of nice crappies, got 10 of them. A couple are a little smaller, but not much thought," said Burchard, who just retired a few weeks ago. He's glad to finally be able to celebrate on the water after a long, cold spring.

"I thought it would never end. It dragged on and on and on," Burchard said.

"[A] terrible winter, awful spring, worst I can recall," said Pat Borgman, who is taking his brand new boat out for its first spin.

He's celebrating finally being able to wear shorts and a T-shirt outside again.

"It's so uplifting, we've been looking forward to this so much," Borgman said.

It may feel nice above the water, but below the surface it still feels like winter.

"I bet it's 45 degrees, it's under 50 degrees," said Borgman.

"It's like 53 degrees in the shallow bays, and 47 degrees coming across the lake," Burchard said.

Minnesota DNR says when the water temperatures is between 40 and 50 degrees, a person can lose dexterity in under 5 minutes, exhaustion or unconsciousness can set in after 30-60 minutes.

"My legs hurt from just being in maybe a minute or so, so yeah it's cold," Borgman said.

While swimming season may be a few weeks out still, but fun on the water starts now.

It still might feel cold out on the lake, WCCO Next Weather meteorologists say the sun right now is just as strong as it is in late July, so make sure to wear your sunscreen outside and especially on the water.

Right now you're limited to what you can catch, but the statewide fishing opener starts May 14. Wisconsin's fishing opener starts Saturday.

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