Sunday, April 21, 2013

april?


It was just getting light out when I woke this morning but I didn’t jump right out of bed, even though it was Saturday, because I knew the task of snow removal was ahead of me. The large bedroom window faces south and I woke to see a bright horizon that promised a welcome sunny day, something that has been sadly lacking of late.  If I stay in bed very long the sun will climb high enough to shine directly in my eyes and flood the room with light, a bright and bold reminder that OK, it’s really time to get up. But it would take a while for that to happen so I grabbed the book off the nightstand and read a good story about fly-fishing bass in Texas. Not a bad way to start a day.

It was a stark contrast from my fishing tale to the reality of fifteen degrees and the chore of clearing the latest storm’s dumping of snow from the yard and driveway. The fresh snow measured anywhere from 12 inches to nearly double that.  And here it is the 20th of April! I got right to it figuring breakfast and coffee would be more appreciated and relaxing with the work behind me. It was.

I hear we’re setting some kind of record with all this April snow. That may be, but I’ve yet to run into the first person who is happy about such a record. I know some folks who are still taking ATVs and snowmobiles on the lakes to ice-fish for crappies, which would seem to be an outstanding idea but the fishing reports are less successful than you would think. The official opening of walleye season is twenty-one days away and everyone is wondering if there will be open water to fish in.
There’s no telling how the grouse and woodcock are going to fare, but there certainly won’t be any early hatch. I’ve read theories and conjectures that explain the delicate timetable comparing the relationships of when the predator species are born to when the prey species are born – or more to our interest, hatched – and it doesn’t seem like good news. I’m assuming this late spring will have little effect on the breeding cycles of the four-legged furbearers, most of which find young grouse tasty, so I can’t help being concerned about my favored game birds. Still, there are many reasons for late hatches, so let’s remain hopeful.

Last Sunday morning the temperature read 5 degrees at six in the morning.  There was about two inches of soft snow over a frozen snowpack of about two feet. It was a sunny morning that would give way to clouds and more snow that evening, but the unusual conditions made for some great skiing and I enjoyed gliding through the woods without the need of a broken trail. The soft snow on top revealed all manner of fresh wildlife tracks and reminded me these woods are alive at night. By noon the day warmed and softened the snow too much for travel so I am glad I took the opportunity when I could. Neat stuff.
There’s also some neat stuff ahead, with a trout fishing trip out west in the works and a canoe country bass trip days after. And if this weather straightens out I can hear some steelhead calling my name.
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