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#11145442 - 10/04/15 08:30 PM Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc.
Brad R Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 03/09/15
Posts: 793
Loc: Texas
Just a note of "financial caution" to the unsuspecting who have fished Wheeler Branch in kayaks, canoes (me), small craft (not sure who gets in at $8) with trolling motors: As of January 1st, 2016, they plan to charge $25 for entry instead of the current $8.

John rode over and told me as I was pulling my kayak out since he knew I had a canoe with a trolling motor.

Here is my best guess: Wheeler Branch will lose some fisherman. $25 for boats is a pretty steep price for just being able to troll and we really don't see many large bass boats out there as it is. $25 extended to more groups should thin it out even more so.

If there "logic" is to raise revenues, my guess is it will backfire on them.

I think I may give them a call, talk to some bureaucrat out there and explain things of a small vessel operator's point of view.

Developing.

Brad

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#11145502 - 10/04/15 08:54 PM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
Go Froggin Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 211
Loc: Granbury, TX
Sad news. I will give them a call as well. Appreciate the heads up.

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#11145947 - 10/04/15 11:10 PM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
Tommar Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/29/12
Posts: 1661
Loc: Georgetown, Tx
So who owns this thing to be able to charge like this? Is it a TPWD and/or COE lake?
_________________________
US Army and TXARNG 1984-2014
Gulf War 90-91
Iraq 2004-05
A'stan 2009
VFW Post Commander

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#11146289 - 10/05/15 09:13 AM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
Somervell Joe Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 21
I think the change by the Water District Board is just an attempt to make the policy easier for David and John at the gatehouse to enforce. The old policy said that all "trailered" boats paid the boat fee. Technically kayaks/canoes on trailers should have been paying but the policy wasn't being enforced that way because that wasn't the original intent. The problem was that guys were starting to bring in 12-14 foot bass boats on top of their pickups and paying nothing at all because they weren't trailed. It is always someone abusing a policy that prompts change that affects others. The new policy says electric powered boats pay the boat fee and non-powered boats don't. It doesn't affect kayaks one bit. The only thing that has changed is that bass boats on pickups pay as they should. Of course canoes with motors are caught up in the change but they have the option of leaving the motor off and getting in free. I don't think it is as much about making more money than it is about enforcing the intent of the policy.

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#11146412 - 10/05/15 10:26 AM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
Brad R Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 03/09/15
Posts: 793
Loc: Texas
No, Tommar, the lake belongs to and is managed by the county as best I know. It was very expensive to build and the county's citizens get in for a smaller entrance fee because they pay taxes to support the reservoir.

No, too, Somervell Joe. It is not "always someone abusing a policy that prompts changes." Just as often it is a bureaucrat sitting around thinking of things to change just for the sake of change. In this case, I think this is the issue, not any confusion by David or John.

And, before I ever went out to the lake the first time, I called the office, spoke to a lady, Cathy I think, and asked her to explain the trolling motor and if I was to pay $8 or $25 (I have a trolling motor on a canoe). She said, "Well, it's a canoe isn't it?" I said yes and she said it would be $8 regardless of whether I had a trolling motor or not, or a trailer.

Here's the deal: I'd pay, and do pay $8 to take my canoe out there with a trolling motor. I would NEVER pay $25. It is just too much.

As best I can tell, the original language never mentioned trailered versus non-trailered boats; it just mentions that canoes and kayaks don't pay extra, just the standard non-county or county fees for admission.

On the other hand, I DO agree that the pricing policy is absurd, that a large bass boat has no fishing advantage over a small trolling vessel, nor does it use up more ramp time. And, what of the small jon boats, the bass busters, and so forth? A better pricing policy should be pursued. This is just not it.

And, the authority should still limit the number of "large" boats; the lake is too small for 25 20' boats with two guys on the decks, for example.

That is not much of an issue, the boat count. There are rarely more than 3 or 4 large boats on the water down there on weekends. Why? Big boats with big motors are operated by guys who want to open up the throttle and move across big water. You are taking their advantage away, their kicks away. So, the market has already spoken: big boats don't go to Wheeler Branch. They don't. If they were EVER going to go to WB, it would have been this past summer when so many other lakes were closed. It didn't happen. Why? $25 to troll around when they could be on Squaw for the same amount with no such restrictions. Squaw is overrun with boats . . . tell them troll only and they'd disappear. Of course, the lake is too large for that to happen. Squaw, itself, is hurt by its 4 PM closing time.

Is there a better way? Yes, I think it would be to maintain a limit on big boats at WB but tie the entrance fee to boat ramp usage. This way, if every non-county fisherman paid $12 to use the boat ramp, it would be equitable. If it is on top and they carry it to the bank, just a standard fee. I, by the way, have never seen a really large top-carried boat. I am sure it has happened on occasion but don't know why there'd be any confusion. Under the old rules, it wasn't a canoe or a kayak, so it would pay the $25 regardless of how it came in.

You'd likely have to make a length rule to keep someone from trying bring a boat in like that, dangerous first of all, that and taking up a large section of the bank to avoid the ramps.

What will happen now? Vessels that used to get in at $8 that will soon be charged $25, will turn around and leave, or fish it that one time, cussing the whole time, then leave and never return.

This strategy is not a revenue generator, that is for sure. It is actually pretty nice for us human-powered kayakers . . . until that bureaucrat over in the admin building decides to shore up his revenue loss with a pedal or paddle fee.

Brad

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#11146550 - 10/05/15 11:57 AM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
phototex Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/13/14
Posts: 1188
I guess I'll say goodbye to Wheeler Branch after this year. It's a beautiful little body of water, but I won't pay $25 to fish it - it's not THAT good.
_________________________
PB: 10-01

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#11146635 - 10/05/15 12:39 PM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
Grease Bath Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/15/11
Posts: 1692
Loc: Ft. Worth
Is a trolling motor necessary on a body of water as small as Wheeler Branch? You can paddle around the lake 20 times if you wanted to in a day. I love Wheeler Branch as long as the kayak fees stay $8 I will always go out there fish
_________________________
Matt Scotch
Kayak Pro Staff - Bass Pro Shops


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#11146710 - 10/05/15 01:20 PM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
Jason Delfraisse Offline
Angler

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 365
Loc: FORT WORTH
I will just chalk this up to another honey hole outdoors loss...haha

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#11146711 - 10/05/15 01:21 PM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Grease Bath]
Txwhitacre Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/26/11
Posts: 1707
Loc: Lakeside, TX
Originally Posted By: Grease Bath
Is a trolling motor necessary on a body of water as small as Wheeler Branch? You can paddle around the lake 20 times if you wanted to in a day. I love Wheeler Branch as long as the kayak fees stay $8 I will always go out there fish


Oh man what about peddle yaks smile stir

I always thought that trailer boats took up the few trailer parking spots, and yaks in back of pickups used the more plentyful single car spots to park.

I know one thing, once a SAL gets caught there, there will be a line of boats more than willing to pay the 25 bucks to fish. I suspect that time will come within the next few years.

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#11146752 - 10/05/15 01:43 PM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
Brad R Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 03/09/15
Posts: 793
Loc: Texas
Matt, yes, it is easily paddled and/or pedaled in a kayak or canoe.

But, what if you can't, say you have a health condition? And, then, what of small jon boats and others that require a trolling motor?

Txwhitacre, no, for now the pedal and paddle operated canoes and kayaks are no extra fee. Since the lake is getting ready to run off at least some business, it'll be emptier than usual.

The only way I see this changing is if they manage to run off the few small boats out there, then try to shore up the revenue losses by levying additional fees on human powered boats.

There is no immediate threat to this; they'll have to stumble through their stupidity in a series of steps, all down hill.

Yep! There is a sort of $5 ramp fee that is common to most lakes, eagerly paid by boaters who like their trailers and vehicles to be watched over, and so forth. I think one can make a special case for WB, that the bulk of the lake's cost and management is supported by its residents, so it is a bit closer to a private lake in that sense.

But, $25 for a $200 trolling motor? Absurd.

They should adopt a price structure that is: fair to all, tied to ramp usage and not boat shapes and sizes, trolling motors or no (what possible difference could that make?). Then, they must limit the large boats, that's okay, and they must prevent boats of a certain length from dodging the ramps by bringing them in tied to roof tops. I have never seen this, by the way, just kayaks and canoes top loaded or in truck beds (common), but the last thing you want is someone launching small boats from the shores, none of which are launch friendly out there anyway. The banks should be reserved for bank fishermen and families.

$10 to $12 for everyone using the ramp (non-county), $8 for kayaks and canoes walked down to the bank, something like that.

Brad

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#11146818 - 10/05/15 02:19 PM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
Brad R Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 03/09/15
Posts: 793
Loc: Texas
I did talk to Kevin Taylor out there, a long conversation.

The lake's recreational aspects are a net revenue loser already, we all had to know that, and they actually don't want many large boats . . . scared of Zebra mussels and the huge costs once they are brought in.

They like the kayak/canoe element out there and understand there is only so much room to fish the lake . . . so fees should remain low for paddlers and pedalers. They just won't catch the wave of powered kayaks building in the industry. More are being marketed every day.

He said they'd be flexible going forward, that what Joe said here was correct, that fees were once managed by trailer/no trailers coming in to the park, then another standard was introduced. It can get confusing.

I asked Kevin to convey to the board next time the issue comes up, that a ramp fee is the way to go if fairness is the objective. Once we are on the water, everyone is equal on a troll only lake, so why not? And, from my experience, we kayakers take no less time than boats putting in and getting out. A single fee would do the trick.

Brad

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#11191354 - 10/28/15 09:34 AM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
phototex Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/13/14
Posts: 1188
Well, I have enjoyed fishing Wheeler Branch from my pond boat with TM.....but I won't be going back now. Enjoy it, yakkers, and catch some big ones.
_________________________
PB: 10-01

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#11701110 - 07/02/16 11:40 AM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
ebl Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 11/02/14
Posts: 96
Is there a regulation that covers Hood,Somervel residents and a over 65yoa for these counties as there exists a squaw creek ?

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#11702165 - 07/03/16 08:00 AM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
kickingback Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 08/13/13
Posts: 815
Loc: Texas
Well I carry my Hobie on a trailer and I will NEVER visit that location. Adios!
_________________________
USAF Retired and Fishing!


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#11703415 - 07/04/16 01:26 AM Re: Wheeler to Charge for Trolling motors on yaks, etc. [Re: Brad R]
pocred Offline
Angler

Registered: 03/28/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Ft Worth TX
I was out there 2 months ago and they charged me 25. I would have turned around and left but I had other family members there so I paid like a fool. I won't ever go back. I have a trolling motor on my kayak.

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