Flowing Water, 4.28.18

The powerful April sunshine has been chiseling away at the snow cover this week and we are finally seeing the lakes begin to melt. Devil Track Lake’s ice has begun separating from shore in some areas and the creeks and rivers are beginning to flow.

We took the family to the end of the trail campground to see if the Seagull River had begun to run last weekend, and we were surprised at how much snow is still on the ground. The unplowed road leading to campsite No. 19 was covered in eight inches of wet snow, too much for our minivan, so we hiked in from the Gunflint Trail.

The river was low but flowing hard with anticipation of more water heading its way as the melting snow finds its way down to the river. The current had begun carving a path through the ice-covered pool below where big female walleyes will soon make their way to the flowing waters to deposit their eggs.

The success of the annual walleye spawn depends largely on water temperature and flowing water. The river needs to be deep enough to keep the spawning females safe from the hungry eagles who nest above, and yet shallow enough to provide current over the rocky bottom needed to protect their eggs.

Eventually the water finds its way to either Lake Superior or Hudson Bay, depending on which side of the Laurentian Divide it is on, and we are already seeing the rock walls along Highway 61 begin to leak. Stream anglers are beginning to find rivers flowing and fish gathering near Duluth tributaries of Lake Superior as we inch towards the open water season. This will be a late transformation this year for sure, but it is great to finally see some water flowing.

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