Record high water levels keep rising

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 2:59 PM CDT
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Already at record high levels, and still rising.

With each month that passes in 2020, water levels on Lake Michigan and the Bay of Green Bay continue to break all-time records.

Even during a calm day without rain, Green Bay's Metro Boat Launch has plenty of standing water and part of the parking lot is now part of the launch area.

"A lot of this year I've been trying to go on the bay trolling for walleyes and the water has been really high, you can just tell at the boat landing, so it's crazy," says Jarret Olson from Pulaski as he prepares to go fishing.

But even launching the boat can be an adventure.

"Tricky when it gets really flooded and then you don't really know where the structure is, and then you might hit new structures like posts in the water and different floating objects," says Olson's friend, Logan Kobus, also from Pulaski.

"I've never seen it so high in my life," says Jeff Tilkens, owner of neighboring Smokey's on the Bay.

Tilkens' statement is true.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Michigan rose four inches over the past month and is now five inches higher than it's ever been recorded.

As Tilkens points out, maps showing the water depth around the bay are severely outdated with water levels nearly three feet above the June average.

"If you can see right here it says one foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, 1 foot, traditionally you could never go across that, you'd always have to go through the channel to come back here and fish, but this year and the year before people are catching a lot of fish and what they're doing, they're doing a zig-zag pattern to for muskies and walleye going over the top of that reef," says Tilkens.

With water levels expected to rise another inch or two by July, Tilkens says the talk around his tackle shop is when will the record-breaking will stop.

"It's nice to have the high water levels back so you don't have to worry about hitting rocks, hitting reefs, that's cool but if it keeps on going higher, where does it stop, that's the thing, what are you going to do," says Tilkens.