Okoboji locals brace for busy Fourth of July

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It’s only Tuesday, but a lot of you are probably packed up and ready for a long holiday weekend. Thousands of tourists visit Okoboji, Iowa, for time on the lake to celebrate the Fourth of July with friends and family. On Tuesday, locals were enjoying a few final moments of peace.

“You can tell they’re blue gills, because they have so much blue on the side,” Braelyn Thompson said, looking at the fish in her bucket.

It’s safe to say Braelyn has been waiting with baited breath to go fishing with her little sister, Alexis.

“See? He’s so slimy,” Braelyn said, trying to grab one of the fish.

“I like we get to spend time with our family,” Alexis Thompson said.

Their dad Eric Thompson got them hooked.

“Just their excitement, whenever we get a bite and reel. Something in, it’s the first time this summer, but it won’t be the last,” Eric said.

The family lives in Okoboji, and is enjoying one last quiet day on the lake before the Fourth of July.

“It’s going to get super busy here,” Eric said.

The fisherman knows the lakes and rivers won’t be the only steady streams you’ll find down here.

“If you plan on crossing this bridge, this right here that goes through the heart of Okoboji, you better plan for some traffic delays,” Eric said.

“It takes forever to get in and out of this town right here. It’s bumper-to-bumper for 20 minutes,” Deb Caven said.

Caven is visiting, and we even had to stop our interview as the bike path got a little busier.

Deb: Sorry!
Woman: “It’s ok!”
Deb: “I’m being interviewed. My first interview!”
Woman: “Congratulations on whatever it is!”

Friendly exchanges like that are why Heather Langhus doesn’t mind the eventual crowds. She has some advice for others.

“Just enjoy the atmosphere. All the people, it’s just a fun time of year and the fireworks are great and this place has so much to offer,” Langhus said.

No matter how busy it’ll get, Eric says spending time with his daughters is the best catch of the day.

“We’re not buying stuff. We’re making memories. We’re making experiences,” Eric said.

No offense to dad, but Braelyn is more focused on making dinner…

“It’s really fun because the more fish we get, the more we get to eat the fish,” Braelyn said.

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