I drove into a downpour on the way up, and drove out of it a mile down the road; showers would continue to come and go throughout the evening.
It wasn't long before I spied a very nice fish working right up against the north bank. I cast my mayfly into his feeding zone but he apparently didn't like the looks of it. I looked more closely at the water's surface and saw little flurries of a tiny caddis over it, and the occasional bigger caddis popping out and zigzagging away.
So I tied on this pattern.
As I was tying it on the fish stayed active, and when I cast it toward his last rise ring he porpoised about six inches away--but going in the wrong direction. He was a nice fish, a big Brown. I stalked him carefully and finally got one rise. I think. There was a churning boil and a loud "ploop" either under my fly or right next to it. But no hookup. He might have been going for something next to the fly. Or he may have come up for it and refused at the last minute.
I'll never know. I never saw him again. About then it began to rain, and he went down. I stayed close and kept my fly along that bank for a long time, figuring I wanted my fly to be the first thing he saw when he decided to begin feeding on top again.
The rain quit and the wind began to swirl and then blew steadily from the west. Not typical. So now the sheltered bank was on the west side, across the lake from me. So I switched to Lidia's Caddis, the foam job that floats forever, and trolled over to the west bank.
On a whim I began casting in to the willows and stripping the fly back. It's a standard caddis tactic; the real bug pops out of the water and flutters along the surface for a fast getaway, so you make the fly move, too.
It worked. There was a swirl under the fly and I had a nice fish on--for a second. I was reeling up slack when he popped a wheelie and took fly and 5X tippet with him.
I went to 4X, asking myself the whole time why I hadn't started with 4X, and resumed casting and stripping. It kept on working. Every now and again you stumble onto the key to the treasure vault, and everything you do is golden.
So I took a break and got my trusty Polartec fleece out of the truck. July 7 or not, I was glad to have it on.