Janesville67.3°

Town could offer fishing boat rental at park

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Kayla Bunge
April 2, 2008
— Unless you own property on the lake or own a boat, it’s tough to gain access to Delavan Lake for fishing.

Denny Sands, who has a cottage on the lake and has fished the lake for 30 years, wants to change that.


“There’s no place on the lake for an average fisherman … to rent a boat and have an opportunity to fish on the lake,” he said.


Sands wants to offer affordable fishing boat rentals at Community Park.


He previously rented a couple fishing boats from Delavan Lake Bait & Tackle, but when the business went out of business this winter, he approached the town of Delavan to gauge its interest in renting fishing boats from its boat launch in the park.


“I think it’s a needed service for the area,” Sands said.


Park Manager Steve Shoff said fishing boat rentals would be an asset to the park.


“We’ve had people coming in and asking if there’s a place to rent a boat here,” he said. “And believe it or not, on Delavan Lake, there isn’t a place to rent a boat.


“It provides another service to patrons who come to the park.”


Kay Franzen, chairwoman of the town’s park and tourism committee, said the proposal fits right in with the town’s plans to improve offerings at the park, including replacing its fishing pier and repaving its boat launch.


“We want to pull more people into using the park,” she said.


Sands currently operates Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental at Shabbona Lake State Park in Shabbona, Ill., southwest of DeKalb, Ill. There he rents 60 boats, including motor, row, paddle and pontoon boats.


The rental operation at Community Park would be far smaller, only five fishing boats, Sands said. The boats are 14-foot aluminum boats with brand new 9.9 horsepower Johnson electric start motors. There would be three rates: $150 for the day, $85 for four hours and $50 for two hours. Rates include gas and life preservers.


There would be minimal cost to the town, Shoff said. Trained park staff would rent and maintain the boats, he said.


Through his company, Delavan Lake Fishing Boat Rentals LLC, Sands would provide liability insurance that would cover both the company and the town, he said.


Both parties would share the revenue generated from the fishing boat rentals.


The town’s park and tourism committee already has discussed the proposal, but at the request of the town board, the committee will review it again at its meeting Thursday.



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