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Things were upside down at the lake last evening. When I got there around 5:00 the lake was calm and fish were rising. When I left at dark the wind was blowing, the fish were down, and a storm was bearing down from the south.
I went in at the south end when I saw the calm conditions. It's the first place I come to when I drive in, and I was eager to get on the water.
It was warm, beautiful, and peaceful.The water level was way up, so the lake was full of shoreline debris: leaves, grass mats, willow catkins, sticks and twigs, and even large branches.
It was also full of trout. They were busy--mostly little guys, but now and then I'd hear a nice heavy splash. I worked nymphs and soft hackles under an indicator at first, trying to keep the fly out of the debris. I caught this one on a soft hackle.
I decided to risk something on the surface, so tied on an emerger. I caught a second little fish. He came up with a very nice porpoising rise. That made me decide to try a little dry. Most of the fish were rising out in the middle of the lake in the middle of the debris, but there were plenty rising closer to shore where the water was clear. Those shoreline rises are always worth investigating. They may be tiny trout, or they may be some of the big boys--especially Browns--patrolling the shallows.
A storm was passing by to the west, and I rigged up with the dry while listening to the rumble of distant thunder.
No sooner was I rigged up and in position than the big wind swirl from the storm began blowing in from the north. I managed two or three casts with a tiny dry before the wind picked up enough to raise a big chop all over the lake.
I pulled in to that shore above--not easy; the high water means the places shallow enough to land are up in the willows--put my rain jacket on and considered my options. I decided to troll leeches.
The wind kept up while I tried three different leeches. The last one I tied on was the big black one. By then I was drifting with the wind, which meant that my back was to the south.
I enjoyed the ride through the deepening dusk. The loons flew over in full ululating cry. Even though the wind was blowing I wasn't cold. I was relaxed. Maybe too relaxed, since I was never interrupted by a trout.
When I got down past my truck and began to make a loop around the south end I finally saw the sky to the south. A big storm was almost on top of the lake. I had seen some flickers of lighting but thought it was from the first storm retreating to the north. I paddled in, double time, and managed to get everything stowed and changed and ready to go just as the first drops hit the windshield.
I drove home through the storm and some beautiful lightning thinking about the next time. It had been an upside down evening, but I was feeling right side up.