I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've caught more mammals than fish on one trip.
It was a warm, windy day. I finally stopped on the way to the lake to take this picture. I should have taken it earlier in the season when there was more snow on the mountains, but I was usually in a hurry, and often the weather conditions weren't ideal. It has also occurred to me that the guy living in the trailer out of sight behind the shed might not want me walking around taking pictures of his place. Some people living off the beaten path have been known to shoot first and ask questions later.
I decided to fish in an area of the lake I haven't been in yet this season. I launched at one of my well-used access points near the channel. Ten feet away up in some weeds against the willows this Brown was on the feed. I think he was on Damsels, which were thick there; he would more often than not come clear out of the water snapping them up. I cast a mayfly to him (an older pattern I tied up last year) and he couldn't resist. I'm glad, because he was the only fish of the day.
I then paddled across the channel and down along the south bank of the upper lake. This is a beautiful stretch with tall pines running down from the mountain right up to the bank. I've had some good days here in the past, and many times this year the boats have been stacked up along this stretch. I was thinking it must have some good Drake hatches.
I tied on a new fly I tied this afternoon. It's the same as the one I described in a previous post, except for a light brown body ribbed with yellow floss.
I found another fish working up against the bank and cast to him. He came up, but I missed him. So I worked on down the bank and back again, casting as close to the willows and logs as I could. I had some splashy hits, but no hookups. Little guys. But, you know, those splashy rises are fun.
Then the wind picked up. So I found a little cove and took a break. I don't do this as often as I used to; I must be more driven these days, if that's possible. I backed the float tube into the weeds and kicked back to wait for the wind to settle and fish to begin working. It was nice.
Eventually the wind did settle, and gradually calmed. I saw a few Drakes, thinking they were the harbinger of a hatch. But no; that was it. Hmmm. Wonder why? Other things were hatching like crazy, though: little tiny mayflies, some medium mayflies, and some caddis. Mostly, though, there were midges. Millions of midges.
A fish came up in the little cove where I was and took a Drake. OK. I cast my Drake to him. Over and over. But he didn't even give it a sniff, and just stopped coming up. Then some fish began working out in the deep water.
I paddled out there and gave it a shot, but had no hits. My guess is that they were on the midges. So I tied on a caddis. Now, that's worked before, but not tonight. Tonight I'd see a fish come up for one or two or three slashing rises, and by the time I'd get my fly near him he'd be gone, and then come up again 50 feet away going the other direction.
Still, I fished on until it was almost too dark to find my channel. That, of course, is Bat Time. They loved my caddis. Couldn't leave it alone.
As is so often the case, the day was not what I had expected. But I wasn't skunked, I had lots of fun, the lake was beautiful, I found the challenging fishing stimulating, and the bats were, well, unusual.
I guess if fishing was always what I expected I'd get bored and take up golf.
So thank goodness it wasn't.