I had to work until 5:00 today, a rare occurrence, fortunately. But I was able to get to the lake by 7. Days are still long; that gave me a good three hours to fish.
I tied on the Lidia's Caddis, of course, to see whether the magic was still there.
It wasn't. Nothing that worked the other night worked this evening.
How 'bout that.
One of the fish I caught the other night was this one. You may have noticed his deformity. Something ate half his gill plate and left a goodly portion of his lower lip hanging. Life is hard in the depths. But this fish gave me the most beautiful rise of that enjoyable time. It was a perfect porpoising rise out of nowhere just ten feet from the float tube. Lovely.
This evening I took my time trying different flies and stalking the rare rise here and there in the shallows. Enjoyable, in its way, but fruitless this time. Still, some of those risers in skinny water have been very large fish. Worth the effort. And hooking a good fish in weed-choked shallows is a heady undertaking, and a worthy test of one's mettle.
Eventually I was fishing my newly-tied "mayfly." (See the last post.) Seeing its photograph underscored once again how a fly that looks pretty good to the naked eye looks a mess in a closeup photo. I imagined my brother John critiquing it, with it's fat body and undersized hackle.
My goal, actually, had been to tie a mayfly/midge fly--a "Maydge"--for those hatches when the midges and those little white mays are coming off at the same time. Did I succeed? Ask this guy.
I have no idea why he hit it, or what he thought it was. I didn't catch anything else on it. But it worked this time.
I saw two fish working steadily out in the middle of the lake, their dorsals waggling, beckoning to me. I paddled over. I discovered that there's a sunken island out there, and the tops of weeds were sticking out of the water.
By now I had Lidia's Caddis on again. I was able to get into position and drop it in front of one of the fish as he slurped along. He took it.
Maybe my timing was off, maybe he was so relaxed that his take was slower than I expected; whatever it was, I merely pricked him, and he was gone.
I cast to the other riser nearby and for the first time this evening--the wind was at my back--tangled my fly in the leader.
Splat! went the mess of line. Down went the fish. I waited, but neither came back.
I learned something while I was waiting. When the Loons call, at least at this time of year, it means that the Eagle is somewhere near. I heard the call and looked over to see the Eagle making several passes over the water, coming down once with a big splash. Each time he would approach the Loons they would call out a warning. They clearly weren't afraid, just territorial.
For being the King of the Birds, the Eagle gets no respect, as far as I can see. If it's not the Loons yelling at him, it's the Red-Winged Blackbirds and the Kingbirds dogging his every move.
When the Eagle made his last pass and headed across the lake to perch, he swooped down right over the Loons' heads. An eloquent taunt, if I've ever seen one.
As the light began to fail I paddled back to the scene of my triumph the other night to see if those tactics would work now.
I finally began the paddle across the lake to my put-in, and drifted the fly behind me. This guy, at least, finally took a moving caddis.
It seemed like I had just lugged the float tube down the hill and through the woods to the water, and now it was time to lug it back up. It was a short time, but it was time well spent.