Big Meadow Lake

IveofIone

WFF Supporter
:( When I moved here 20 years ago Big Meadow became my home lake. It was only 9 miles away and full of fish. It was outstanding in spring right after the season opened, had huge caddis, damsel and mayfly hatches for dry fly fishing during summer and once the leaves turned fall fishing was just superb. Often I was the only guy on the lake and certainly usually the only fly fisherman. It fished well for over 15 years then the weeds began turning the lake into a meadow. The shallow east end which was one of my favorite places to fish gradually started to weed over and open water became more difficult to find. Eventually the entire bottom became covered and weeds were so dense that I couldn't kick my Super Fat Cat through them. Then I used my Predator to go over the top but that was problematic also. Once I finished the pram I took it up there too but by then you couldn't cast without hooking weeds. All that was left was the deep water on the lower end and the margins of that have shrunken considerably.

During the heyday 3 of us once caught over 100 fish in about 3 hours with some as big as 18''. Fall fish were often 16-20''. Now little remains of the fishery with at least 60% of the water now weeded over. I tried to fish it last year but it was too weedy to launch in the shallow end so I didn't bother with the deep end.

I drove up today just out of curiosity to check it out. It is worse than ever, I stared at the water for a long time and never saw a fish rise. It was a mild overcast day with 67 degree temps, there should have been some kind of action but I saw nothing. It was my last trip there and I am grateful for all of the good years. As one of the few fly fishermen in the area it was like a private mecca for years, a lake I never got skunked in.

RIP, BM
 

Dave Westburg

WFF Supporter
Sad to watch a terrific spot start to decline. For several years I've fished a small pond in the cascade foothills which has produced cutthroat to 18 inches. Now there are perch in the pond. Am afraid it's seen its best days.
 

Krusty

Outta Here
Generally, lake eutrophication (while a natural process) is rather slow, unless there's a rapid influx of nutrients, generally from things like intensive farming practices or septic drainfield contributions. Neither exist anywhere near this isolated lake surrounded by forest. Big Meadow's demise doesn't appear have any obvious cause, unless it was on the very cusp when you first arrived. I fished it quite a bit, and did seem like a rather abrupt ending.

Do you remember when the concrete roadway/dam was put in place? Maybe that changed the lake nutrient dynamics.

You know the area far better than I do....were there large clearcuts in the surrounding area?
 

skyrise

CCA, Hatchery Wild Coexist
Wasn’t the demise of Bobby & Merry due to sand & dirt flowing down the creek from above Lenice ? Maybe Big Meadow had some influx of sand/dirt over winter months ?
 

IveofIone

WFF Supporter
Three years ago when you could still fish the upper end-although not without some difficulty-there was a lot of 13''-15'' fish available. I wonder what happened to those fish-did weeds rotting under the ice kill them off? Even then some of the big ones would take you into the weeds and break you off. If those fish survived they should be dandies by now. And if they are still there thriving under the cover of the weeds they will die of old age before being caught.

In the past few years I have noticed many lakes weeding up that formerly had little weed growth at all. I just wonder what the hell is going on that diverse waters start declining simultaneously.
 

Bob Newman

Active Member
One thought is the lake regularly flushed excess nutrients that the dam/culvert has blocked leading to the eutrophication.
 

Krusty

Outta Here
When a shallow lake becomes heavily weed infested they go through extreme swings in dissolved oxygen concentration, producing oxygen during daylight hours through photosynthesis and consuming oxygen at night. Wind mixing also obviously becomes less effective.

Organic debris continues to accumulate at the bottom of the lake, and eventually dissolved oxygen disappears, and terrestrial bog species creep in at the margins...and a lake like Big Meadow literally becomes a big meadow.

The southern and northern extensive adjacent meadows of Davis Lake near Usk are excellent examples. Once a large glacial lake (great glacial striations on the granitic rock near Camp Spalding!), it's well on its way to meadowhood, with just a deep remnant in the middle of encroaching flatland that was formerly open water.

Impoundments, whether they be manmade, a matter of topography or trapped nutrient vegetative berms, provide an ideal opportunity in the acceleration of lake eutrophication, with phosphorus the chief limiting nutrient. If not seasonally swept out of the affected watershed, nothing facilitates greater aquatic plant growth, and the death of a lake.
 
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Krusty

Outta Here
Three years ago when you could still fish the upper end-although not without some difficulty-there was a lot of 13''-15'' fish available. I wonder what happened to those fish-did weeds rotting under the ice kill them off? Even then some of the big ones would take you into the weeds and break you off. If those fish survived they should be dandies by now. And if they are still there thriving under the cover of the weeds they will die of old age before being caught.

In the past few years I have noticed many lakes weeding up that formerly had little weed growth at all. I just wonder what the hell is going on that diverse waters start declining simultaneously.
We need another iceage, and glaciers to scoop out new trout lakes! We'll hit Big Meadow when they recede. Can't wait!
 

bakerite

Active Member
I wonder how much global warming contributes. There are quite a few lakes in the seeps like Marco Polo that were good trout lakes when I was a younger but now aren't on the stocking list and are so shallow that they would summer kill, quite a change for 35 years. Those shallow lakes like Big Meadow are the ones that are best for fly fishing, and grow fish well. Sad to hear Ive.
 

Krusty

Outta Here
I wonder how much global warming contributes. There are quite a few lakes in the seeps like Marco Polo that were good trout lakes when I was a younger but now aren't on the stocking list and are so shallow that they would summer kill, quite a change for 35 years. Those shallow lakes like Big Meadow are the ones that are best for fly fishing, and grow fish well. Sad to hear Ive.
Good point. Global warming certainly wouldn't slow down the process.
 

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