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>>> Pinedale Online:News:May 2004:Soda Lake Opens May 10th <<<

Ice is off Soda Lake. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Ice is off Soda Lake

Rocks block some areas. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Rocks block some areas

Road is dry all around lake. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Road is dry all around lake

Soda Lake Opens May 10. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Soda Lake Opens May 10

Soda Lake road open. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Soda Lake road open
Soda Lake Opens May 10th
by Dawn Svalberg
May 2, 2004

Soda Lake opens May 10th, a date much awaited by many fishermen. In response to a visitor's recent question asking if the road was open and if there was still ice on the lake, we took a drive out there Sunday afternoon to check things out. The road opened May 1st, and the gate is now open to get to Soda and Willow Lakes. Fishing on Soda won't open until the 10th, but you can still camp at the lake and boat on it (non-motorized boats)-you just can't fish yet.

The road around the lake is completely dry and is good for 4-wheeling or mountain biking. There are places where large rocks have been placed to keep campers off some the lake's edge where folks usually park their trailers, so there might be some adjustment needed on where you park this year if your favorite spot is one of the places that is now blocked by the rocks. The other comment of note is that the main gravel road going in is very washboarded, so expect a bumpy 5-mile ride getting to the lake.

If you like to bird watch and haven't yet discovered the Soda Lake Wildlife Management area just to the north of the main lake, it's well worth the short detour to go up to the blind and see the waterfowl that use the ponds. You can access the blind without the birds seeing you drive up or get out of your car. Bring your binoculars, camera with telephoto lens, and bird book and you'll enjoy watching many different kinds of birds using the ponds with scenic Fremont Peak in the background.

Soda Lake is located approximately 6 miles north of Pinedale between Willow and Fremont Lakes. It contains populations of brook and brown trout, stocked by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. The lake is unique in that it has no inlet or outlet. Due to the high alkalinity of the lake, natural fish reproduction is largely unsuccessful in the lake and the Wyoming Game & Fish Department actively stocks it each year. In addition to stocking, Game & Fish biologists take advantage of the annual fish spawning to spawn brown trout and gather fertilized eggs from the lake each fall.

To get to Soda Lake, take the Willow Lake-Soda Creek Road north from Hwy 191 on the west end of Pinedale between A to Z Hardware and Café on Pine. It's paved for about the first mile and a half, then gravel through the rolling sagebrush hills. There are two dirt roads to the right that access the lake and ultimately form a big loop around the lake. So it doesn't much matter which one you take. Several restrooms are located around the lake. Bring your own drinking water. There is no power or RV dump stations. Services for food, gas and repairs for flat tires are all in Pinedale, 6 miles away. Camping is allowed around the lake with a limit of 14 days. Cell phones work in this area.

Going to the Soda Lake opening has become a tradition for many families. If the kids don't fish, they'll enjoy riding bikes or 4-wheelers around the lake, throwing sticks for the dog to fetch, or exploring the sagebrush (no rattlesnakes, Moms). This is also a great area for 4-wheeling and mountain biking with many miles of dirt roads to explore throughout the area. Photos by Dawn Svalberg

Related Links
  • Soda Lake page on Pinedale Online

  • Soda Lake is ice-free. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Soda Lake is ice-free

    Some snow on shore. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Some snow on shore

    Soda Lake camping area. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Soda Lake camping area

    Wildlife Viewing Blind. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Wildlife Viewing Blind

    Soda closed sign. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Soda closed sign

    Barrows Goldeneye on rock. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Barrows Goldeneye on rock

    Many birds use the ponds. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Many birds use the ponds

    Barrows Goldeneye. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Barrows Goldeneye

    Birds on Soda Lake ponds. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Birds on Soda Lake ponds

    Soda wildlifepond. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Soda wildlifepond

    Soda waterfowl marsh and pond. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Soda waterfowl marsh and pond

    Soda Lake Wildlife signs. Photo by Pinedale Online.
    Soda Lake Wildlife signs

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