A report in this week's Mammoth Times says that the population of Crowley Lake, the Eastern Sierra community, is expected to double in the next few years, from 600 to about 1,200 as part of a new development plan.
And the townspeople, for the most part, are embracing the idea.
Meanwhile, at nearby Crowley Lake, the reservoir, they're preparing for a population explosion of a different sort, much faster and on a much larger scale. The lake's shores and its many coves, come Saturday morning, will have swelled from a population of near zero to about 9,000.
And the concessionaires, for the most part, are embracing the idea of another opening day of trout-fishing season. Although they're a bit frazzled.
"Oh my God, you can't even imagine how hectic it's been," says Heather Topp, who runs Crowley Lake Fish Camp with her husband, Jeff. "We've been going nonstop with distributors and have had product spread all over the place, but we finally have the tackle shop together and we're ready to go."
Ready to go is the general feeling in the region between Big Pine and Bishop today, a brief period of calm before the storm.
Thousands of hopeful anglers are still miles down the highway, spinning their wheels en route to their favorite fishing holes. It's a pilgrimage that lasts all day and well into the night.
Strong winds are in some forecasts for today, but they're expected to subside by Saturday morning. The sky should be as invitingly blue as the vast reservoir, located just east of U.S. 395 atop the Sherwin Grade, 25 miles north of Bishop and just south of Mammoth Lakes.
Having fun fishing is what the opener is all about, and no place serves it up quite like Crowley.
The lake late last summer and in early fall received 455,270 hatchery-raised rainbow trout, slightly more than its seasonal allotment.
Among those were 206,450 Eagle Lake-strain rainbows at about 12 to the pound; 156,420 Coleman rainbows at about seven to the pound; and 92,400 Kamloop rainbows at about 2.2 to the pound.
Eagle Lake trout are not caught in great numbers at the beginning of the first season, but they carry over well and the trophy-sized rainbows caught during this year's opener will probably be Eagle Lake trout stocked two or even three summers ago.
The Colemans are the most likely candidates for the cleaning station during opening day, followed closely by Kamloops, which are the more acrobatic of the two. It is when the Coleman and Kamloop catch rates start declining later in the season that the Eagle Lake catch rates start increasing, so Crowley is special in this regard and always seems to provide plenty of action.
For the most part, all the fish that went into the lake last summer were "sub-catchables," but the mild winter has enabled fast growth and the fish should average a pound or slightly more on opening day. The mild winter also means warmer water and should result in much livelier trout.
"The fish are surfacing like you can't even imagine," Topp reports. "I'm sitting here and can see them literally flying out of the water. I've been watching them do this for two weeks straight."
On Saturday, they'll still be flying out of the water--but many of them will be at the end of someone's line. By opening day's end, Crowley's trout population will be reduced by about 30,000.
Which, given the amount of fish put in every year, is really just a drop in the bucket.
Last year was an excellent opener, with many anglers boasting catches in the 20s and 30s, and this year should be as good or even better, according to Curtis Milliron, a DFG biologist who oversees management of the fishery.
That's the good news. The bad news is that many of the fish being released will die.
While the bag limit is only five, it's legal to catch and release as many trout as you want. Unfortunately, Milliron says, trout caught on bait suffer a high mortality rate upon release because they often ingest offerings such as worms, crickets and even processed baits such as Power Bait.
Lures, on the other hand, usually lip- or mouth-hook a trout, and flies typically are barbless, making for easier releases.
"One of problems with such a productive opener is that people catch their limit right away and they're not ready to stop fishing," Milliron says. "The most desirable situation would be to keep those first five fish and then switch gear, because make no mistake, no matter how careful you are with bait, you're going to kill some fish."
Ice fishermen beware: Walking on water may be hazardous to your health.
Though many opening-day anglers will auger in a new season at high-elevation lakes, drilling holes in the ice might not be the wisest thing this season.
This week's heat wave has reached the upper reaches, though to a lesser degree, and with it has come less-stable cover. And if the winds sweep across the region today as expected, they could serve as a literal ice breaker.