As I write this it is Saturday, and still March. But April is just hours away, and with its coming this lake will be officially open. If I could, I'd be there tomorrow. But my first trip will have to wait until Monday.
Remind me to get a new license. The old license expires today, and tomorrow there will be a late model pickup with a DFW insignia on the door patrolling the shores, and a nice, courteous warden will be writing lots of tickets.
There is no trace of ice on the lake, and the water is clear and cold. Perfect for the stockers that have already been unceremoniously hosed into their new home.
This is the far western end of the lake. Further west just a few miles from here the eastern edge of the Cascades shrugs into the sky, and the Pasayten Wilderness Area begins.
But I'll be content for this month to paddle out by those willows and fish the dropoff. Later, after April 28, I'll head for another wildlife area and the Browns and Rainbows of Trout Lake, or the Brookies of one of its sister lakes; or climb the rough logging road into the foothills to fish Chopaka for its fabled Rainbows, or go on to the gateway of the Pasayten to catch pristine Redbands in the sparkling, tumbling mountain streams.
On Friday, when these photos were taken, our corner of the world was enjoying a brief, 60 degree reprieve from the chilly, wet weather. It was back in all its dismalness when we woke up this morning, and will be with us for the next week. But on that glorious Friday when the sun could shine full on the awakening earth--and on us, coatless and T-shirted--we could feel it in our bones: Spring is just a thin cloud cover away from bursting into full bloom.
And so it begins.