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Laramie Plains Lakes

The Laramie plains lakes had fished well this last summer and fall. Now it was mid November and I was not ready to put away the fishing gear. I headed north today for one last fling. The wife likes to work at home alone on Fridays and it was a good day to vacate the house. Also, the weatherman was predicting record temps. I wanted to fish for the lakers in Lake Hattie. I drove for 2 hours, assembled my gear, walked a half mile, and launched my float tube. Soon thereafter the wind came up and made fishing a roller coaster ride. I beached the tube and contemplated an alternative.

Diamond Lake, about 15 miles away was frozen according to my friend Joe that I sent there a week ago and also according to the Laramie flystore whiteboard. The fly store did not have a lot of credibility with me. They told me it was ice free when I sent Joe up there and he got to turn around and drive back home. I decided that maybe the warm weather had opened up some water and I headed for I-80.

I got to the lake about 1PM. And talked with a bareheaded fisherman coming up from the lake. He said the lake was frozen in the morning but the wind had just blown it open. Timing is everything! Bareheaded fishing would normally be suicide this time of year but the temp was 60 degrees, a record for this date. He had no success yet. I noticed he was using a Platte River Special streamer.

I had been catching fish on scuds and damsel nymphs a couple weeks ago and thought I would start with them. Bad idea, no takers. My new friend met me back at the car and said he was catching fish on the streamers. I got a nice 16 inch cutthroat on the streamer and a splake on a Beadhead Damsel. Fishing was still slow. My friend then told me he was dead drifting the streamer with a small pull about every 10 seconds. I tried it and almost immediately got 2 nice 17 inch rainbows. Dead drifting a streamer in a lake? Not intuitive to me! Maybe with the water at 32 degrees the fish were not willing to chase anything. Anyway it worked. Another fishing insight for 1998.

It was interesting to see how the fish feeding patterns changed in 2 weeks with the temp going from 40 degrees to 32 degrees. Maybe the scuds hibernated? I saw several 12 inch rainbow slowly swimming about 2 feet from shore in very shallow water. They seemed to be in a kind of shock, like “Damn it’s cold!”. I suppose the lake will refreeze tonight. Anyway, I was happy that the lake chose to blink open for me today. I'll be back next spring.

Frank Cada November 1998

There is a sad footnote to this story. The droughts of 2001 and 2002 have claimed Diamond Lake now. I had been enjoying the fishing here for more than 30 years and now it is history, at least until the next wet climate cycle.

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Last updated on 11 Jun, 2011