With summer just approaching and Memorial Day around the corner, many desire to get out on North Dakota’s waters.

But before you leave the dock, you need to know the water conditions.

Right now, the Corps of Engineers reports that Lake Sakakawea’s water elevations are still lower than last year, and that could impact your lake plans.

After the recent snow, rain and chilly weather patterns, many from all around North Dakota are eager to get their boats out on the water.

While some hoped the extra precipitation benefited lake elevations around the state, that is not the case for Lake Sakakawea.

“Overall we are still looking at a below-normal run-off year for the entire basin. So, we have implemented conservation measures for the system,” said Todd Lindquist, operations project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Lindquist says the recent weather has slightly helped the conditions.

But about 80% of the basin is still abnormally dry, and some parts are still considered to be in drought conditions.

“1,829, is our current elevation. We are about a foot higher than we had forecasted to be at this time. So, the recent rains have helped. It’s not going to make a dramatic impact it’s going to take continued precipitation in a large area of the basin to support a significant recovery in reservoir elevations,” said Lindquist.

So how will this impact your summer aquatic plans?

Luckily, Linquist says for avid boaters and fishermen, most won’t notice much difference.

But ahead of a busy Memorial Day weekend, he says boaters need to be cautious of swimming in hypothermic temperatures and adds depth finders are necessary for steering clear of abnormally high sandbars and islands that stick out more than usual.

Despite the water levels, that hasn’t stopped his team from gearing up for the busy holiday weekend coming up.

“Memorial Day typically kicks off our busy season. We did open our campgrounds this past weekend and most of our concessionaires have also opened their campgrounds. So, I think we are going to be in really good shape to be ready for a busy Memorial Day weekend,” said Lindquist.

Lindquist wants to remind the public about the importance of boater safety.

He says the safety of the public is his top priority.

Additionally, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department says fishing on Lake Sakakawea should be pristine this year, with good year classes of walleye all throughout the river and reservoir.