High water levels create issues for local businesses - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

High water levels create issues for local businesses

La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The high water level has led to a drop in sales for at least one local business, and a slow down in water recreation services for another.

When it comes to selling water ski's, tubes, and other water recreation gear, Power House Marine has had trouble.

In La Crescent, Tri State Bait & Tackle Shop Owner Bob Veglahn said because of the high water, people aren't fishing as much as usual—as his bait shop is having its worst year since 1993.

“Fishing this year is a challenge,” Veglahn said.

Veglahn said on average around this time of year, Bait & Tackle sells roughly $40,000 in fishing licenses. So far in 2014, they've sold $20,713.

“I kind of feel like the 'Maytag repair man'. I'm a pretty lonely. There's hardly anybody going, in fear of the high water. There is no wake out on the river, you can't run a boat at any speed, so it makes it difficult to go out,” Veglahn said.

Power House Marine in La Crosse has seen a steady decline in water sports equipment sales since 2008. This year though has presented another challenge.

“Last year was very similar but it (the water level) was dropping by this time already. We've seen other years typical to this, but this year it's lasting and lasting,” Power House Marine Owner Dave Tucker said.

Tucker said despite the high water level issues, boating sales have been “great”, as Power House Marine has delivered 10 Bennington's (Pontoons) per week since May.

“Area boaters are very resilient. They're all anxious to get out there so they're getting ready anyway,” Tucker said.

No wake zones cut out water skiers and creates headaches for people who launch boats into the water, but Veglahn and Tucker both said there is reason for optimism moving forward.

Despite the high levels, Veglahn said if the river is back to normal by fall, he expects the fishing to be “great,” because fish are currently swimming at lower levels due to the recent decrease in fishing.

With lower water levels expected by the fall, Veglahn expects more fish to be comfortable swimming at a lower level—creating better opportunities for better catches on the water.


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