OK, not really. Except for this little guy. On my third cast, ten feet from the put-in, he hit my newly-tied hopper the instant it slapped down, and came three feet out of the water doing it. Gotta love it.
After that I got nothing with the hopper. So I went to another newly-tied pattern. I had looked through one of my fly books this morning and got an inspiration, so I tied a couple of tail-less humpies, #14's, kind of a caddis thing. I was thinking of those cruising fish who come out in the evening and who just might go for something completely different.
I got a take on it from another little guy (HUMPY TIME!!!) but lost him in the weeds. And that was it.
But I'm loyal to my flies, so I stuck with it all evening, thinking that there was one good fish out there somewhere who had gotten out of bed this morning thinking, "Man, I'd like to have a tail-less humpy for supper tonight!"
I know he's out there, but I didn't find him.
But it was a beautiful evening. The landscape is subtly changing, taking on the colors and the aspect of fall.
The birds are changing, too. The warblers are gone; so are the Loons. Ducks are flocking up. Now there are White-throated sparrows whistling their plaintive song from the underbrush, and Stellar's Jays patrolling the shoreline with raspy cries. I love those jays; they look like steelhead flies with their black heads and deep blue plumage. Finally, I saw a male Marsh Hawk this evening, a striking, low-flying hawk, pale gray and white. This past spring I thought of him as the ghost of winter past; now....
As darkness neared I tied on a Bugger (no "wooly": a tinsel rib instead of hackle) and trolled. I caught two very decent fish, the last one just as my feet felt bottom at the take out.
I loaded the truck by starlight and fired it up for the drive home. Since getting back from the mechanic last week the truck is in its second childhood--or maybe third, or fourth--and I drive it with a childlike trust and peace of mind.
On the way home my cell phone rang. It was Jeremiah wanting me to know that he had gotten his jersey at practice this evening. He's number 23--LT plus two. (Ladainian Tomlinson of the Chargers is his favorite NFL player, and LT is number 21.) He's excited about that and the game coming up on Saturday.
So things are feeling good even though it still isn't really HOPPER TIME!!!