Friday, April 22, 2016

Trout Lake/Brookie Lake Report: Scouting

It's Friday. Tomorrow the general fishing season opens. My favorite lakes will finally be there for the taking. It's the day I've been waiting for for six months.

I won't be here. I'll be cooped up in a plane while anglers are making the first casts of the season.

That's OK, it's for a good reason. I'm going to Kansas to join my three remaining siblings in helping our parents get ready for a move. They have been in assisted living for a long time, but now, as they have entered their Nineties, they require a move into a section of the retirement home that will provide dementia care.

They're basically OK, except for serious memory issues. Many people tell me it's a blessing for someone my age to have both parents living. I see that. As some of you may know, however, dealing with the long, slow-motion decline of your parents can be challenging. Still, I'm beginning to think they may outlive me. One day my Mother will ask, "Why didn't Jim call?" and, well....

Since I won't be here for opening day I took some time on Thursday to drive up to Brookie Lake and Trout Lake to see how things looked.

Brookie Lake is full to the brim, with the spillway roaring. Campers were already staking out campsites.

Signs of spring are making their last stand everywhere. Summer is already pushing its way in. The meadows are soggy and creeks are full. The leaves are almost fully out, and I saw blizzards of cottonwood fluff already. This is unprecedented in the ten years I have lived here.

Birds and animals are here and active. The rattlers are clean and shiny. I saw more than one on the gravel road, and I watched my step in the underbrush.

Trout Lake is also full to the brim. The outlets are running high on the north end.

This is usually a little pathway down to a shingled beach.

There were campers setting up in the north and south campgrounds here, too. Fish Lake, on down the road, is already crowded with RV's and fifth wheels. On the drive out to the main highway I would pass 9 or 10 more rigs rolling in for the big opening.

This launch on the south end is as full as it gets.

The river, meanwhile, is bank full and still rising. It's approaching 20,000 cfs, and is over 14.5 feet. Flood stage is 15 feet. This is an event that usually occurs in May and June. Might as well get it over with.

I'll get home late Wednesday night. You just might find me out on Trout Lake on Thursday. Can't wait to explore those high shorelines.

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