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Archive for Sunday, May 28, 1995

LOCAL CAMPERS COPE WITH SOGGY HOLIDAY

May 28, 1995

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Heavy rain has put a damper on fishing and camping at local lakes.

Tyson Paulson, 11, stood at the edge of the water just north of the dam at Clinton Lake and cast his line. Nearby, his father, John Paulson, and his brother Ryan, 9, fished from a canoe floating in an inlet created by the expanding lake.

Tyson pointed to tree tops poking above the water near the canoe to show where the lake normally ended. Fish like to swim near the newly submerged trees, he said, so the inlet made a good fishing spot.

As he stepped out of the canoe after paddling in, John Paulson said that the recent rain had postponed their other activities.

"We're doing this because we've been rained out of baseball," he said.

The more than 9 inches of rain dumped on the Lawrence area this month have forced officials at local lakes to shut down most boat ramps and some campsites.

The result: for the time being, most fishing has to be done from shore.

At Clinton Lake, most campsites still are operational, but eight of the 10 boat ramps are closed. And the remaining two could be closed soon, said Dave Rhoades, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park manager.

But it's probably just as well. Rhoades said floating logs and other debris caused by the heavy rains made boating unsafe.

"We're not encouraging anyone to be going out on the lake," he said.

On Saturday, Clinton Lake was 891.4 feet above sea level, or about 16 feet above normal. That's still not capacity, Rhoades said.

"We can take in a lot more water still," he said, adding that the Corps probably would open the dam to let out some of the water later in the week.

Near the Bloomington camping area, huge boat ramp docks sit high and dry after having been dragged aground. A "DO NOT ENTER" sign on the ramp is up to its neck in water.

Fishing from a blue plastic chair at the edge of the water, Gary Murray, Baldwin, lamented that he couldn't be fishing from a boat.

At Perry Lake, where the water has risen to 19 1/2 feet above normal, parts of roads ringing the lake are completely submerged. All boat ramps are closed, and most campsites are either closed or taken.

Frank Funk, Perry Lake project manager, said only boats in the marina or the yacht club can launch right now, he said.

"If you don't already have a boat in the lake," he said, "it's not going to get in."

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