Thursday, October 2, 2014

Trout Lake Report: So Long, September; Hello, October

Another month has rolled by. You close out September with a trip to the lake.

On the way into the magic valley you notice a wisp of smoke high on a mountain. Still dry. Almost time for the fall rains to settle in.

You're drawn to the far north end again. You said a month ago that you were finished here, but you want to see what it looks like this late in the season.

A trout moves slowly away from the bank and into the weeds. Good to know there are still fish in this end.

You kick out and make your way across through the weeds that hang just below the surface. A swirling wind is blowing hard out of the north, It makes the dry leaves of the cottonwoods and willows rattle and roar. It has a cold edge to it, and you're layered up against the chill for the first time this fall.

The lake is way down. The inlet streams are still running, but they seem disconnected from the lake now.

You're still drawn to this section of shoreline. It's high and dry now, but this was a hangout for big Browns when three feet of water stretched beyond the trees. Now there isn't even three feet of water out here where there used to be ten. It's too shallow to get any closer in the float tube.

But there are fish in the weeds. You twitch a stimulator through them and get a hit.

You walk the tube out of the shallows and find the drop off.

The wind has backed off. You kick slowly along the margin of the weed beds, casting into openings in the weeds, or just letting the stimulator drift behind you.

You get some bumps, some swirls, and a few hookups.

One of those hookups dives into the weeds, and when you try to horse him out the fly breaks off. You tie on another stimulator and take up where you left off.

You get all the way to the far west end of the north lake and take a little break.

Then you kick across to the east side. You drift the stimulator behind you, but get only one half-hearted bump.

The wind is gusting again, but now it's at your back. You knot on a freshly-tied muddler variation and kick into the wind working the shoreline with the big fly. The shoreline drops off quickly all along here. It's a good place to still find some fish close to the bank.

You get a hit right away but miss it. You get another on down the shoreline and also miss it. They could have been very small Rainbows--or big, cautious Browns. You'll never know.

Then, in the twilight glow, you come to a featureless stretch of shoreline and see a rise two feet from the bank. You drop the muddler in there and let it sit for a beat, and a nice Rainbow takes it.

You go back in and get two more good Rainbows out of a ten-foot stretch of bank.

That's a good way to end the day. You're almost at the truck, it's almost dark, and you're ready to call it a day. And a month. Only one more month left in the season now.

You load up and climb into the truck and crank the motor and get the heater going. Then you start a CD, and glance at the clock.

Why is it that you're always surprised to see how early it's getting dark these days?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lord Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise

Another precious day of the waning season gone without fishing.

Tomorrow will find me on the water for sure, Lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Late September on the Russian River" by John E. Smelcer

"An Autumnal Sunset On the Russian River" by William Keith, 1878

The trees turn, suddenly,
as dawn rolls up what night unwound--
their slender necks
like tundra swans in shallow ponds.

There is no comforting chill
in the gray air,
only a screed of birds
scrawled on a bare sky.

Fog arrives in the narrow valley,
gray wings cupped like snow geese
landing between deserted stars
in morning's porcelain light.

A trout waves in a shadow
across smooth stone,
and while I watch, a bear--sleek and black--
crosses the river and fades off winterward.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

North 40 Fly Shop, October 2014

The Big R Fly Shop is now the North 40 Fly Shop. The Omak shop is my nearest decent fly shop, so I'm giving it a shout out. Read the mag HERE. (Some steelhead talk going on.)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's Looking Octoberish


Pumpkin pumpkin 
big and round, 
I'm glad you grow 
upon the ground. 
I'm glad you don't 
grow in a tree 
for then you might 
fall down on me.

Pumpkins by the barn.
Pumpkins by the house.
Pumpkins by the wagon.
Pumpkins by the mouse.

Pumpkins by the fence.
Pumpkins by the cat.
Pumpkins by the scarecrow.
Pumpkins by the hat.

Pumpkins by the table.
Pumpkins by the chair.
Pumpkins by the door.
Pumpkins everywhere!

Just in Time
What a funny seed I found,
I wondered what would grow?
So I planted it in the ground,
And now I know!

Little leaves were first to sprout,
Growing in a line,
Then golden blossoms opened out
Along the vine.

And then something grew and grew and grew!
The biggest ever seen!
And now I have a pumpkin--
Just in time for HALLOWEEN!

Youth Sports Post: Jeremiah Gets His Turn to Break One For a Touchdown

Jeremiah played in the JV game on Monday. On Varsity, his big brother Isaiah is the primary running back, and Jeremiah plays mostly defense. But on JV, Jeremiah gets the opportunity to stretch his legs.

It was mostly hard going in the game on Monday, and he was pretty sore the next day. But he broke one for an 80 yard touchdown run. Pretty sweet, and, I have to say, a sign of things to come.

Nice work, Jeremiah.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Trout Lake Report: Welcome Back, Fall

You celebrate the First Day of Fall with a trip to the lake. The last vestiges of summer are quickly disappearing.

You've tied up a new muddler with a bright orange marabou tail. You throw it up against the bank in John's Cove, give it a strip, and a Rainbow comes clear out of the water--and misses the fly.

You cast it in again and let it sit. The Rainbow comes clear out of the water again, but this time it hooks itself. It's a heavy fish, too thick to grip one-handed.

You turn the corner out of John's Cove and head down the shoreline into the south lake.

You cast the fly up along the shoreline, or in openings in the weed mats. You go through the drill: first let it sit, then strip it in. On this day the strip is the trigger.

The predicted rain begins to fall, and the evening looks even more like Fall.

You get another hard hit. The fish runs, then thrashes. It feels like a ton of bricks. You suspect what eventually is confirmed: foul hooked. How did that happen?

You're having so much fun that you just keep on going all the way to the south end. 

You get another hard hit, and the fish jumps and thrashes and twists and rolls. It's another nice Brown. You get it close and get its head up and see immediately that the fly is barely hooked in its upper lip. You try to be careful. You try to hurry. But you're still fumbling for the net when the fly pops out and the Brown fades away like the summer.

You troll your way back. You get tugs, and bumps, and one temporary hookup. It was a good evening.

Good bye, Summer. Welcome back, Fall.