December 30, 2009

The Lobby

I took this shot from just upstream of the Meenach bridge which is witness every first Sunday in May to thousands of running shoes pounding their way across the bridge as they propel their owners around the Bloomsday course.
I hadn't fished this secluded slot for several years. Not that I was avoiding the somewhat treacherous hike, especially in the coldest months, when the ground freezes and all downhill trails in the constant shadows become slides, but because for several years there were no fish residing in the quiet currents here. I think it had to do with the critically low flows in late summer which forced the fish to vacate while they had the chance. I'd drop in occasionally through those years only to find out that the entire length of this idyllic channel was sadly, still uninhabited.
The main stem of TDR is flowing past to your right as you look at the picture, just on the other side of the vegetation. In the late summer, as the flows decrease, the water level in the Lobby drops, and becomes quite languid. While it still looks fishy, it's only an illusion. It was so low for those past few years that the water was barely knee deep. I remember those years, walking upstream, the vaulted ceiling of leafy trees above me shielding the sun, wishing that there were fish here.
Well, good news. They're back. Browns, mostly, with a few rainbows, too. Last week I made the trek in and was delighted, no, amazed, to see noses as I made my way upstream from the bridge. Brownie noses. In wondering why there are fish here again, I was lead to think that the recent changes in flows as mandated by Avista's new contractual agreements with the feds is partly responsible. There is more water in the system in late fall, starting with this year, and since Brown trout spawn in the fall, I theorize that this may be a spawning area that, because of those higher flows, is again available to them, which is necessary because there is only one creek(Hangman, or Latah, for you non-natives) for the trout to access for the purpose of the spawn. The hope then is that they'll just kind of hang out here, maybe even take up residence again.
Whatever the reason, it's so nice to once again look forward to hanging out with my new friends for a few hours each week in the Lobby.
There's always, if you're a brownie, good eats in the lobby.

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