I Love the Smell of Rotten Eggs in the Morning!

The alarm clock seemed a little rude a little after 4 a.m., this morning, but I managed to roll out of bed and head downstairs to gather up a couple of fly rods (just in case a hatch was on), a couple more spinning rods, my gear bag, an ice chest and two more layers of clothing than I’d need.  By 5, I was on the road with my truck pointed in the direction of Lake Morena, 55 miles and roughly an hour away.  A brief stop at “Steph’s Donut Hole” in Alpine added five minutes to the trip out Interstate 8.

For the last three months, the trout have been on a tear and these are larger trout than we are accustomed to in these parts.  Our local streams are small and the handful that support wild trout populations tend to produce and support proportionately small trout as a necessity for survival.

Local reservoirs are a different story and trout are planted during the winter and spring to provide a little recreation.  Competition among the various lakes that offer trout has resulted in larger and larger fish and the rainbows we’ve caught at Morena have averaged roughly 1.5 pounds each along with a dozen or so fish from four to 10.5 pounds.  By summer, the trout in all but one and sometimes two or three local lakes will succumb to warm water temperatures and/or a lack of sufficient ozygen.  With the current season hurtling toward that moment there will be few more trips to Morena.  In the past week, the nightime air temperatures up over 20 degrees and the water temperture has risen from 63 to 69 degrees.

Arriving at the lake a little after 6, Dave was waiting for me and ready to go.  We had received reports that the aerator had been turned on earlier in the week and that many of the lake’s remaining trout had headed for the bubble that boiled to the surface and spread over an area approximately 50 yards wide.  Troll the perimeterter we were told, and you will find the trout holding and feeding along that edge.  Before we saw the work of the aerator, we smelled it – hydrogen sulfide, the same chemical combination that gives rotten eggs their odor filled the air. 

We trolled the edge of the bubble in a dizzying tight circle.  First clockwise and then counter clockwise.  We made wide loops and tight loops, our Rapalas riding behind us at a variety of depths and the catching part of fishing was slower than we’d been experiencing for the last few months, not surprising consdering how long it had beens since the lake was last stocked and the resulting decline in inventory that made this something of a clearance sale.

There was not much of a selection, but we found a few bargains.  A trout of a pound found its way into the landing net, while another of two pounds did not.  Another about 1.5 pounds made its way into the livewell after hitting a brown trout pattern Countdown.  There were more dizzying circles around the perimeter of teh bubble.  We continued to pick our way through the scant merchandise when Dave found the bargain of the day, a beautiful 6.25 pound rainbow that made a little fire tiger pattern Countdown its last meal.

The smell of rotten eggs filled the air as a morning spent circling an aerator came to an end.


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