The rain cooled things down wonderfully. I'm sure these cows (in a picture from Sunday) enjoyed that as much as we did.
It was still mostly overcast when I arrived at the south end of the lake today, but that soon cleared out. A breeze was blowing through the late afternoon and early evening, so I fished the sheltered spots along the banks.
I tied up a couple of hopper imitations this morning. I was going to say they're prototypes, but every fly I tie is a prototype. Let's just say I don't use recipes much anymore, employing a freestyle approach.
I designed them to imitate the little brown and gray hoppers now thick in the fields. Lidia and I drove through a blizzard of them on Sunday. If the trout are seeing any hoppers right now, it's these guys.
They can't be seeing many because the fly was getting precious few strikes, and those from little fish. But they might be seeing some because I finally did get a grab from a heavy fish.
We always think the fish we hook and lose without ever seeing are the biggest ones in the water. Then again, they could be. I base my belief that this one was a good fish on his first heavy pull. It took him deep into the weeds in spite of my efforts to hold him. I had 4X on, so I was giving it everything I had. I got him up once--holding the rod with both hands as high as I could, leaning way back in the float tube--but he went down again. When I finally worked the line back up all I had was a hook full of weeds.
Between those weeds and the torn weeds that slowly floated to the surface, the battlefield was littered with swathes of green.
This is a paradoxical business; sometimes losing a good fish is as satisfying as catching one.
I fished on down this shoreline but got no more strikes. While I was doing that an Eagle flew low over me heading down to the south end. Soon I heard a Loon begin to call (I wonder if there are two pairs of Loons; I always see them at both ends of the lake) and then I heard a kasploosh!
I looked back and the Eagle had just hit the water right by the shore. He just sat there for awhile and then--no kidding--waded out dragging something with him. He stood on a log and began to feed. I wondered if he had killed a duck and decided to paddle down and see.
I tied on a 5X tippet and a soft hackle and began to troll my way back. Halfway on my journey a fish hit the fly like a freight train. Pow! and the fly and tippet were gone.
We always think...but then again, it could have been.
I tied another soft hackle to the 4X and resumed trolling. By then the Eagle was keeping an eagle eye on me. I was finally too close and he vacated the premises. I tried to see what he was carrying but couldn't make it out.
Meanwhile, the Loons stretched their necks and fluffed their feathers and went about their business after successfully routing the Eagle.
I continued in to see if there were any feathers around the log. Just then I had another hit on the soft hackle. He wasn't huge, but he was strong and beautiful.
There were no feathers; it must have been a fish.
Nice one, Eagle. You landed your big one.