LaSalle Lake and boaters: Some explanations on boaters and wind closures

There’s long been questions about the wind closures for boaters at LaSalle Lake, the perched cooling lake south of Seneca; here’s a bit of explanation.

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Winds tend to be down at dawn on LaSalle Lake, as shown in this file photo, then build during the day, leading to access issues for boaters. Credit: Dale Bowman

Winds tend to be down at dawn on LaSalle Lake, as shown in this file photo, then build during the day, leading to access issues for boaters.

Dale Bowman

Boater access to LaSalle Lake, the cooling lake south of Seneca, has long been a point of contention.

It still is, as Duane Landmeier emailed yesterday:

Hey do you know what the deal is on Lasalle Lake? It was closed today with 6 mph [winds and] people don`t understand. Last week my son looked on the webpage that lets you know if it is open and also a phone number you can call. Both said it was open. They drove to Lasalle and they were not open and it was not even windy. One car hauled a boat there and they lived 2 hours away and it was closed after they had called the number that lets you know if open or not. Can you can check on this and let the public know what is going on. Thank Much, Duane Landmeier

Today, I reached out to site superintendent Tom Jackson, who explained the process and why, some days when it seems calm enough at dawn to open, boater access is still closed.

Staff checks current conditions before opening at 6 a.m., but they also check with a weather app to see what is forecast later in the day.

“If we have wind later in the day, we are not going to open,” Jackson said.

Wind often builds during the day and it leads to problems for those who went out early in calmer conditions. Jackson noted, and I would vouch for him on this, boaters do not come off when the wind warnings go up later in the day.

When staff does not open in the morning, staff generally update on the LaSalle Lake phone—(815) 357-1608—before 6 a.m. Granted, that doesn’t much help those who live two hours away and left at 4 a.m.

But staff tries to be as accommodating as they can for those pulling a boat to LaSalle.

“When we do the updates, if we see a forecast for a couple days of wind, we let them know,’’ Jackson said.

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