Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday Fishing Report: Cool

Rain was falling when I woke up, and it kept up all morning. At Noon it was 64 degrees.
It was a good morning for sitting down at the old HMH and tying some flies for trolling.
I broke out the longies in preparation for a trip to the lake. I debated taking the canoe so I wouldn't have to put my legs in the lake, waders or not; but I decided not to panic and loaded the float tube in the truck.
The tube was worrisomely flaccid on the side that had the leak. I pumped it up and headed out.
On the way I decided it would be wise to go ahead and patch the patch, so as soon as I arrived I unzipped that side. Sometimes being wise isn't so smart. The inflatable module instantly burst halfway out of the lining. I realized I'd have to deflate it to get at the patch. I should have deflated it before unzipping it.
Good thing I wasn't that wise. Good thing I realized before it was too late that I had left the pump at home. I decided all I could do was zip it back up and take my chances. But of course there was no way I could squeeze that thing back in enough to zip it up all the way. I managed to zip about a foot, but the module ballooned out of the liner like a tumor.
I launched anyway--it floated, if a little bit off kilter--and began to troll with one of my new flies. The sun had poked its head out of the clouds, the temperature had risen 20 degrees in five minutes, and the fish were working.
I had a hit almost immediately.
Two guys had pulled in as I was netting the fish. One came down to the water's edge as I was releasing it and asked if I was catching anything. I said, "Yeah." He asked, "Any big ones?" I was glad to be able to say at that moment, "That one was eighteen." His friend came down and he said to him, "That guy just caught an eighteen incher!"
They headed on down the road. Maybe they were looking for a place with nineteen inchers. I fished on.
The sun ducked back behind the clouds again, the temperature dropped 20 degrees in five minutes, and the fish went down. I wasn't getting any looks.
It seems rare that I catch more than one fish on the same fly when I'm trolling. My scientific explanation is that the fly gets bad juju from the negative vibes of the distressed fish and it takes awhile for it to wear off.
So I switched flies. Still no luck.
These crows streamed overhead--there were many more behind these--and soon I heard their manic screams as they mobbed something on the mountainside.
Meanwhile the float tube seemed to be more off kilter, and I was feeling more and more unsatisfied with the state of things. So I made a big circle and trolled back toward the put in. This willow branch was there, one the beaver let get away.
I loaded everything in the truck and headed home for some quick repairs. It was still raining in the valley, but I deflated the module, double patched the old patch, pumped it up tight as a ripe melon and hit the road.
This time I brought the pump with me.
I made good time; I was still wearing my waders and wading boots, and that extra half inch of felt really put the pedal to the metal.
I saw several deer, including this buck and doe. They were with two other bucks and a doe. The bucks are still in velvet, but it's thinner and dryer; the antlers are beginning to look harder and sharper. I got back to the lake and launched quickly and went back to work trolling.
I had the rod tucked under my arm trying to take a picture when this fish hit.
The sun came back out to the north, but the temperature was dropping, and a few raindrops pattered down now and then from the clouds that still choked the southern sky.
Some fish were beginning to work again as evening fell, but they looked like mostly small fry. This one seemed to confirm that.
Sadly, this guy swallowed the fly. I tried hard to extricate it with a minimum of damage, but I'm afraid he wasn't going to make it. I would prefer to fit into the rhythms of nature rather than become its instrument of selection.
Pondering this eagle, however, made me think that maybe that is fitting into its rhythms.
Evening transposed to dusk, and about the time the bats came out the wind picked up, then promptly died. The water looked like obsidian, and the trout began flaking it away with rises.
I caught four more fish in the near-dark, and could have caught more. One was very small, but I'm certain he'll survive; he was hooked in the lip. I kept him in the water to release him, and when I popped him off the hook he promptly jumped into my lap. The other three were of a respectable size.
It was a very unusual August day, and a very unusual fishing trip. But all in all, it's one of the best days I've had here.

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