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jdmidwest

Death Of a Lake

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Now I know the rest of the story.

Back in the 80's, I found this lake.  I was never a lake fisher from the get go.  But I learned quick, Spring floods ruin streams.  You have to have a back up plan.  Crane lake came up somehow.  Exploratory trip with the canoe hanging out the back of the Mazda pickup, 6' of bed and 17' of boat.  You could counter balance it with camping gear and it would not break down the middle "much".  Big ole stinger.

Crane Lake, miles off the beaten track.  Used to have a nice little camping area and a boat ramp.  We could drive up after work and pop a tent.  Run a trout line out.  Build a nice fire and have a good nite camping.  Get up, run the line and take care of the catch.  Then grab the rods and work the lake in the canoe.  Hop out at the dam and fish the stream outflow below the dam.  Enjoy youth and life at its best.  And bring home a nice mess of fish for the freezer.  It was a nice peaceful hide away we could use from time to time.

I caught a nice 16 lb channel cat below the spillway on a ultralight and 4 lb test with a buddy assisting.  I watched F4 Phantoms out of Lambert buzzing the lake on low altitude passes, they would tip the wings and wave at us when we would wave back from the canoe.  Then I made another friend that knew about it too.  We tried to sink a boat there one time by accident, he had replaced a battery the night before and busted the livewell fitting letting water gush in.  I noticed it out in the middle of the lake when my ankles started getting wet.  I have teal hunted it in the morn and took the blind down to fish.  I paddled it in the yak one morning in the moonlight to duck hunt one Thanksgiving morn. 

35 years of enjoying the lake.

Over the years to follow it changed under the NFS management.  They closed off the camping and removed the toilet.  They failed to keep the meth heads out  and let them ruin what was left.  They decided the lake needed to be choked with lily pads and coontail grass and planted some.  They let the road go.  They drained it.  Now they just decided to kill it.

Exploring the future of Crane Lake.

I never knew it was started as a private lake.

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Oh wow, so sad.  Spent a fair amount of time there in my younger days, lost a bass i swear was 10+ pounds one spring.  It was beautiful, but the locals didn't give a crap about the rules, we were night fishing it one night in a small john boat when a big boat came flying down the lake about 40mph throwing a huge wake...it was trolling motor only!

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Did I miss something, or did they not yet at least,  declare the lake to be left to fall apart or get drained? I was interested in checking that lake out, seeing how it seems it would be out somewhere pretty wild and more untouched than most but that might just be me romanticizing it's image in my head. 

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Well, given the political climate, that the government doesn't want to spend money on anything to do with the environment (while spending plenty of a lot of other stuff), and given that it will cost a bunch no matter what to make the lake safe from failing in a major earthquake or huge flood, I doubt that much will end up being done with it, and they may truly decide just to drain it.  The earthquake thing is interesting...a few scientists specializing in earthquakes are now saying that the New Madrid Fault System is settling down and will probably never produce another major quake, and certainly the chances of it happening are so slim that it doesn't make sense to spend the money to make everything earthquake resistant in this part of the country.

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I bought property on Crane Lake road right before the dam was lowered -- it broke my heart.  I read about the Forum at The Abbey on the 12th in the Mountain Echo (Arcadia).  I might take a couple vacation days and attend.  I did email Sherri Schwenke.  Crane Lake is the reason I bought that property.  I have not caught a lot of fish there but I don't catch fish, anywhere.  But it is an enjoyable experience in my solo -- I can paddle the from the boat ramp to the dam in twenty minutes when it is at normal pool.  The trolling motor on the bass boat has to fight through the vegetation.

The DNR offered the USDA-FS two million dollars to help with the repair some time back -- I don't know if that is still on the table.

And JD, I don't see any evidence whereby the decision has been made that the dam will not be repaired.

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I can't sign off on all the USFS related accusations there, but I'm sorry that happened to a body of water that you care about. That always hits close to the heart.

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