Weather Wonders

How To Know When To Get Off The Lake

By Lenny Rudow

A healthy dose of modern technology applied at the boat ramp can mean you'll never wonder about the weather again.

Photo of a storm over open water

For her 12th birthday, my daughter asked me for a present I was ecstatic to give: a daddy-daughter fishing trip at St. Mary's Lake. But our enthusiasm took a hit when checking the weather forecast the night before, which foretold of a 50-percent chance of rain showers throughout the day. Undeterred at five o'clock in the morning, we hitched our 14-foot reservoir runner and made the two-hour trek down the road. And although it wasn't raining when we arrived at the boat ramp, we sat in the truck and waited. Ten minutes later, the downpour began — but armed with modern technology, I knew we could wait out this bad weather.

Photo of Weatherbug Elite Storm Tracker for iPhone
The Weatherbug Elite Storm Tracker is available for iPhone (shown here) or Android phones. This app provides alerts and warnings of potential bad weather based on your location, using the phone's GPS sensor.

After a few minutes, the clouds broke, we launched our boat, and had one of the most pleasant mornings afloat that either of us could remember. Until, that is, the rain returned. Fortunately, by the time that liquid sunshine was dropping again, we were back in the truck, warm and dry, snacking on chips and pretzels while we had a friendly argument over who'd caught the most crappie, bass, and pickerel. But we didn't call it a day. Once again, I knew the rain would be short-lived so we stayed and waited. And within half an hour, we were back out on the lake, trying to out-cast and out-catch one another.

The secret to my weather-predicting prowess? It's no secret at all — in fact, chances are, the main ingredient is in your pocket or hanging on your belt at this very moment. Thanks to modern smartphones, all it takes is a good weather app to become an accurate on-the-spot forecaster. Choose the right one, and you'll never again stand at the boat ramp and wonder if you really should launch; you'll never again stare at those dark clouds from the middle of the lake and wonder if you need to run for shelter. You'll know the answer, for sure.

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