Kayakers: No matter where you launch, be sure keep an eye on the wind speed and direction posted for the days you go out. You don't want to be caught an hour paddle away from where you launched if winds pickup over 10mph. Our wind comes up quick when it comes up, regardless of direction predicted. NOAA link on weather has been pretty accurate.
GALLATIN LOW WATER RAMP: Good to go all season. DO NOT PARK AND UNTIE YOUR BOAT STRAPS BLOCKING THE ROAD TO THE LAUNCH OR THE TURN AROUND AT THE BOTTOM. THERE IS PARKING WHERE YOU GET YOUR BOAT PREPARED TO LAUNCH, THE ACCESS POINT IS NOT THE PLACE. THIS RAMP IS FOR EVERYONE. All that will get you is trouble. Most people prepare their boats for launch above in the parking area to keep the line moving. One guy that isn't prepared can mess up everyone.
Little to no waiting. Weekdays are much quieter than weekends and holidays but it has been pretty easy. Pull your boats down the dock so others can get in the water while you're parking your vehicle. Later in the morning people are trying to launch to play while fishermen are trying to get out. If this happens I try to split the differnce and allow enough space in front for someone to get a boat in the water and enough space in back for a boat to come in behind me. All in all it has been fine and will get us through the season comfortably. Weeds and moss starting to climb up from the bottom but it hasn't been bad enough to hamper getting in and out. The courtesy dock in the water this year is the step down. It's better having the pipes inside the dock so they don't catch side lights or downriggers or rod holders and makes it easier to get in and out of a boat before stepping up on the dock, but the lower height can beat the heck out of your boat so be sure to use bumpers. It's also a longer reach to the cleets with a boat hook when the winds are howling. Catch 22, can't have it all. All in all it's been fine and no trouble as long as you deal with it. Having a boat hook on board can be a life savor in heavy winds. We still have a few rocks out there between the dock and the jetty so we don't have a lot of space yet to screw up or get blown off course. No fee launch and much closer to where the fish are right now. From now on it should be just fine till Columbus Day weekend when we see our next spike in boaters. Once we cool down, it will be mostly us diehards out there!! Great store, a ton of tackle and great inventory of things that break when camping, RV stuff or boating and really reasonable prices considering our location!!
Kayaks have limited availability. It's a shorter romp thru the grass now off the old Aspen Ramp but we have to get through tules and water grasses/weeds to get to the lake. Christie too but don't try to use the plastic handicap access walkway at Christie. It's a mess. LNF was going to remove the safety hazard but as of right now, they have not. Stay on the vegetation beside the trip hazard walkway. Getting a craft down to the water isn't the hard part, getting it back up hill several hundred feet is. We are also having to deal with getting through the new tules along the shoreline just about everywhere before we hit open water. Christie isn't too bad for getting through, but shore fishermen lost some good spots due to the weeds. This will be a new normal as the water rises in the future but it will be good for the fish eventually. Another option for kayaks is driving into Eagle's Nest and launching off the gravel bar. That road (Gallatin) is also in terrible shape. About 20 minutes to get in once past Camp Ron McD. I pity the home owners in there for having such nice places, pay LNF for leases and get crappy access to them. The trail from the parking area just past Camp Ron McD is the longest and steepest from the parking lot, plus some rough terrain getting of the hill and down towards the lake. Eagle's Nest and the low water ramp are about the only launch areas for kayaks that don't have tules to get thru to get to the water. These aren't too bad, just make sure there is nothing like a rod hanging outside the craft. Peddle drives have a little more to deal with but it is doable for most with some effort. Wildcat Pt shoreline is still pretty good and has less weeds, but the road in is a dusty mess. Unfortunately, we need to use the road to keep the vegetation from encroaching the already narrow stretches of the road. Winter fishermen really tore it up last year. Ruts are deep, side roads getting around them were in better shape than they are now. But, it is doable but will beat the hell out of your vehicle.
Kayaks have every right to use the low water ramp just like any other boat. I would suggest unloading in the small parking/loading spot so rigs could still turn around and launch boats and to take your craft to the jetty side of the ramp rather than the ramp itself so boats can still get in and out of the water. Since LNF replaced boulders accessing the gravel bar to the west side of the courtesy dock, kayaks can no longer be dragged, carried or hauled to the gravel bar...not a smart move so kayaks now have to use the ramp area. Oh well, not the kayakers problem. You can't help but to tie up the ramp and have every right to launch there. I suggest getting a kayak to the water from the cement ramp and floating it towards the gravel bar on the jetty side of the ramp. If it's your turn in line, just do it. Most angler kayaks are over 60lbs, Hobie peddle drives start out at 125lbs. Not easy to carry or drag on kayak carts over boulders so launch ramps can often be your only choice. There is no other launch area for kayaks and they have become quite popular up here. So do what ever it takes to get it in the water. With no other options, you can not be denied access at access areas.
GALLATIN MARINA: A long way to go before launching will be feasible.
SOUTH RAMP AT SPALDING: Most folks are heading south now to launch. I certainly don't advise trying but I am sure folks will. Reports are that the channel is now pretty shallow and very weedy. Once you get out beyond the pipes weeds continue. 4ft of water with 4ft of weeds all the way to Buck's Pt was reported. I seriously doubt fall lanching will be doable for most boats. In my opinion, launching most boats is pretty much over in Spalding unless you want to wind up weeds on your prop for 3/4 of a mile or more. Once the moss beds lift in fall, it's going to be a mess before it gets better. LoL.
Most everyone is launching down south now. $8 fee to park or launch in Spalding and a 5 gallon round trip in a boat to where the fish are. No brainer. The water in the Spalding basin is very weedy heading down to Pelican Pt. So anyone attempting to launch will be taking chances that could have negative effects. We are losing approximately 6-7" of water per month now and most likeley will be below 5095ft elevation by October. Already we are approximately 5095.4ft as of Sept 1.
Once I have more water and spending more time fishing the north basins again, I will once again launch here. It will be a whole new tule line in all the northerly basins once we get more water. It could take a couple years before the fishing up here gets good again though. We'll have to see how many and IF fish actually come above Pelican Pt this fall, the water is very brackish now. My bet is that most of the fish will remain in the south basin as they have been when water levels are low.
NORTH RAMP AT SPALDING: No.
STONES LANDING: High and dry.
ROCKY PT: Lake level dropping, Kayaks can make it but small boats should consider launching down at the south end.