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The rain that greeted me at my favorite lake last evening marked the end of a dry spell. Not in terms of the weather--it has been a wet Spring--but in terms of trout brought to the net.
It was a cold rain and a cold evening; the ridges and mountaintops were getting a fresh dusting of snow while I huddled under my hat in the float tube. But there was relatively little wind. I was happy to take that tradeoff.And the lake was alive. Frogs were in full chorus; swallows darted and pirhouetted around me; rocks let go on the mountainside and tumbled down the scree slide with a sound like faraway thunder; I heard the cry of the Loons for the first time this season; a pair of Great Blue Herons flew over; and an Osprey came in low with a nice trout in its talons.
And fish were rising here and there, splashy rises that made bubbles on the rain-dimpled surface. I had trolled a beadhead Micro Leech across the lake without any bumps or takes, so I tied a Chironimid on a 5X tippet and suspended it under an indicator. I had a take, but missed it.
Then the rain quit, and I noticed midge duns floating on the surface. So I shortened my leader under the indicator and tied on a pheasant tail soft hackle.
The fish were rising more actively now, small pods at work, or single fish making a series of rises. It wasn't mad action, but steadily working fish. They seemed to be mainly out in the middle of the lake, so I paddled out, cast my line, and kept an Osprey eye on the indicator.
It dipped, I waited a beat, raised the rod and felt a solid hookup. Immediately the fish came up in a wonderful jump, and I could see it was a good fish. I worked it in carefully, and was rewarded with another jump right at the float tube. It stayed on, the 5X held, and I netted it.
I'm going to give it three photos.
It was a good 17 inches of silver shimmering with rose and turquoise light. Why is it that catching a beautiful trout like this makes the world a better place? I don't know; all I know is that I felt a hell of a lot better than I have on those recent fishless trips.
The Great Blues came winging back overhead, and it felt like a fly over in honor of the occasion. I'll take Great Blues over Blue Angels any day.
Catching that fish made me feel better, but it didn't warm me up. I was shivering, and my fingers were numb enough to make tying knots and removing indicators a challenge. But I took off the indicator, nipped off the 5X, tied a black beadhead Micro Leech to the 4X, and started a big loop back to shore.
It seems like a dream now, but as I paddled slowly for home through the dusk the breeze died and the lake became perfectly calm. It was exceedingly beautiful, and there were rises everywhere.
I caught two more fish.
They weren't as big as the first one, but they hit the leech eagerly, hungrily, and fought and jumped all the way to the net. I had the feeling that I could catch fish until the end of time if I just stayed out there.
But then the breeze came up again, I remembered how cold I was, and the moment was over. There were still fish rising, and I have this feeling that they'll still be rising when I go back.
On the way home, heater blasting, light still infusing the western sky even though it was past 9:30, I looked to the east and saw a star--a falling star--big and bright, not a streak, but a ball of white fire dropping slowly to earth.