As winter weather continues to pummel the region, dedicated trout fishers are gearing up for the trout fishing opener Saturday at Whitewater State Park.
Excited to fish along the Whitewater River that has been swollen with rain and snowfall in recent weeks, some are even willing to camp, despite wet and chilly forecasts over the weekend.
Brent Anderson, Whitewater State Park Manager, said some of the 48 signed up for campsites for the weekend opener have cancelled reservations. Still, there are plenty who are so excited for the season to begin they are willing to brave the weather, even camping in frosty conditions without flushing toilets at the campground. Anderson said because there is still frost in the ground, park officials cannot turn on the flushing toilets, so campers will have to use old-fashioned outhouses.
The Whitewater River has overflowed its banks north of the state park land on County Road 74, prompting transportation officials to close the highway between County Road 30 and Highway 61. Inside the park, Anderson said, the river has not crested its banks, although “it’s muddy and flowing fast,” he explained.
Officials across the region are carefully watching tributary streams for signs of flooding, since the frost left in the ground can cause precipitation and melting moisture to run off into streams and rivers rather than be absorbed into the ground.
Anderson said although the Whitewater River is high, fishing will still go as planned for the opener. He recalled a winter trout fishing opener a year or so ago, when fishermen braved January weather to get out and cast. “It was snowing and miserable, like 10 degrees below zero,” he recalled. “And there were people out fishing then. There are always some die-hards. I think a lot of folks are anxious to get out there, hiking, walking, and just enjoying some sun.”
As weather patterns continue to produce potential snowfalls into mid-April, trout fishermen are not the only ones hoping for a bit of sun. The National Weather Service’s seven day forecast shows repeated cloudy days dappled with rain and snow.