Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fishing Report: Deja Vu All Over Again

It was a lovely afternoon and evening. It had been an entire week since I had fished, an interval unprecedented in recent memory. So I decided that the lake would provide the get away that I needed. The river can wait a little longer.
I trolled across the lower lake without a hit and decided to try the hopper along this bank. There were a few fish rising splashily, and they looked hungry.
I tied the hopper on 4x, greased it up, and flipped it out beside me so I could reel up the extra line I had used in trolling. I had just begun reeling when a fish hit the hopper.
Of course I wasn't ready. I was able to set the hook and strip in line but by the time I had tension on him he was already deep in the weeds. I tested that 4x trying to dredge him out, but the knot failed finally.
Well, that could be a good sign. But that was the last of my little hopper patterns with those quill legs. So I tied on a Stimulator and worked the bank--and the water away from the bank where I lost the fish--but I got no more hits. Maybe those legs were the trigger.
There were still some fish coming up so I added some 5x--figuring I'd take my chances for the sake of a hookup--and tied on a little caddis. I worked a riser and got a hookup, but again I lost the fish in the weeds. This time at least I retrieved the fly.
I kept casting to rises, had a heartstopping refusal, and then hooked up again. I stripped this little Rainbow in over the weeds and got him into the net. He was a beautiful sight, the first fish in the net for awhile.
I kept going and was finally able to get another take by stripping the fly underwater. This was a bigger Rainbow, but he had inhaled the fly, something that rarely happens. I figured an attempt at removal would be more life-threatening than leaving the fly in his gullet. So I clipped the tippet and released him.
It was time to change flies anyway. I decided to go back to my Cinnamon Ant. By now I was near the far south end. That western bank has been the scene of lots of activity. There is a big bush right on the bank that has a skirt of dead branches that dangle into the water, and there's always one or two little fish rising there. So I cast right up next to those branches and let the ant sit.
I was expecting a little Rainbow. What I got was this.
He took the fly with a dainty little rise, but then began to thrash. That's when I knew it wasn't a little fish. Fortunately he chose to fight on the surface (with as much urging as I dared give him with the 5x) and didn't run. I never got him on the reel--it would have taken too much time--but stripped him in.
Another nice Brown. I'd say 18 inches at least; what do you think?
I revived him and released him, dried the ant and cast it back in the same spot. It was deja vu all over again. Same take, same fight, and I had another nice Brown in the net.
I had this nagging feeling that maybe it was the same fish. It seemed smaller, and was very strong and energetic in the net for a fish that had just been caught before. But still, could there really have been two good Browns in the exact same spot ready to take the same fly in exactly the same way?
So I compared spots. See for yourself.
Two different fish. Wow. Speak of being in the right place at the right time....
I drifted away from that spot--yes, I tried one more cast first--and followed the shoreline to the south end. I took a little break, put on my jacket, and went back out to fish the cool of the evening. I stayed with the ant.
Pods of fish were cruising up and down, and I entertained myself by trying to maneuver the float tube close enough to intercept their rises without spooking them first. They'll be all around you, and then they're gone and start rising again a hundred yards away.
These are predominantly little Rainbows, though you can see some big dorsals coming up once in awhile here and there. And it's very difficult--at least for me--to time the cast just right, or have just the right fly to induce a take.
But I managed it, twice. The first time it was a little Rainbow, and I released him in the water. The second time it was another Brown.
That already made this one of my more memorable and successful trips. But later, as the stars came out, I caught another nice Rainbow while trolling with the beadhead leech.
I wouldn't mind having deja vu all over again all over again.

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