So this was a "fishing trip." It was a "trip," not a "break." And it was "fishing," not "catching." Alas.
I could blame the smoke, I suppose. There was a new fire somewhere to the south, and the lively south wind had filled up the valley with acrid smoke. It cleared out somewhat by day's end, but while it lasted it leant a surreal atmosphere to my futility.
The truth is I really don't know why I'm not catching fish. I tried trolling and dries, but I spent most of the time casting dries to actively rising fish. It's what I dream about and wait for, but, though I had the fuel and the flame, I couldn't get a fire going. Heartbreaking, really.
I was sure I had come up with a fly that accurately imitated the bug on the water, a tiny black fly with light wings. I took a trico and clipped the tail and trimmed the hackle flat on the bottom. Looked good to me. So I fished it to death.
Usually I can count on the small fish to be stupid and hit anything on the water while they're feeding, but not today. I had some shots at some big fish enthusiastically feeding, but they would come up six inches from my fly. Over and over.
The message was clear: if they had thumbs they would have been thumbing their noses at me.
Even the bead head leech, usually surefire, has been letting me down.
A rational person would ask, "Why am I wasting my time?" A fisher person asks, "What can I try next?"
Oh well. Like the smoke, this too shall pass.