Drinking alcohol while operating a boat is one way to find trouble in Minnesota, particularly beginning Friday, when local, state and federal enforcement agencies team up for a coordinated effort to highlight the problem. Dubbed Operation Dry Water, the effort will continue through Sunday, in a run-up to July 4th, a holiday, statistics show, when boating accidents involving alcohol often spike. Since 2009, the percentage of boating fatalities involving alcohol has fallen from 19 percent to 17 percent. Still, boating while intoxicated can be deadly: In 2011, alcohol was a contributing factor in 8 percent of boating accidents overall, but figured in 17 percent of watercraft fatalities.
Dennis Anderson has been a Star Tribune outdoors columnist since 1993, before which, for 13 years, he held the same position at the Pioneer Press. He enjoys casting and shooting. Dogs, too, and horses. Also kids and, occasionally, crusading in his column for improved conservation.
The morning was chillier than predicted — in the mid- to high 30s at sunup — but walleye fishing generally was good on Crane Lake on the season opener Saturday. Walleyes were caught in 14 to 16 feet of water on shiner, chub and fathead minnows