Searching for spring

Notes from the North Woods

After waiting and watching for the backwoods ponds to shed winter’s hard cap, I couldn’t take it anymore. Two full weeks had passed since the Opening Day of trout season and I’d finally had enough.

So, I loaded up a boat, packed the usual gear including rods, net, PFD, and a fishing vest bulging with a pile of my finest flies, lies and lures.

I also tossed in a pair of snowshoes in for good measure, before setting off to find open water. As I traveled north from home, I noticed that Lake Flower in the village of Saranac Lake had shed most of its ice cover.

However, I also knew that the shallow lake has a steady current, as it is formed by an impoundment on the Saranac River.

On the opposite side of the village, I stopped to check Lake Colby which holds a generous population of browns and rainbows, as well as landlocked salmon. To my dismay, the lake was nearly completely covered with ice that was firm enough to support skaters.

There was however, one small opening where a small stream enters from a nearby marsh. There was hardly enough open water to float a boat, so it remained on the cartop racks.

Following a few futile casts, it was obvious nothing was interested in what I had to offer. So, I packed up the gear and headed further north toward Lake Clear.

Lake Clear has an expansive western exposure, which often provides the strong winds necessary to break up the ice pack. But, as I strolled to the lakeshore from the parking lot, it was obvious the winds weren’t working so well this year.

Although there was enough of an opening near the inlet to float a boat, I knew the depth of the open water was more conducive to wading than boating. There was no evidence of any smelt in the brook, and no tracks of predators on the sandy shore.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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