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I went to Trout Lake with the canoe Sunday evening. I remembered the new damsel flies, but I forgot the camera. That seldom happens, but perhaps it's a good thing when it does. The experience becomes more immediate, I think, and it's a good discipline to simply be in the moment without planning shots and prewriting a post.
So I'll just say it was another achingly beautiful evening, it was warm, I caught another fish on a dry fly, and the wind came up at dusk and blew me off the water.
I went back to Trout Lake this evening with the float tube--and the camera. Monday is my official day off, and I do like to get away if I can. But, because we're down to one vehicle again, I had to wait until almost 6 o'clock to make my getaway.
I took the float tube because it loads faster and easier. And, even though it was a bit cooler today than the past few days, it was still warm enough that I thought I could survive another wetting in my holy waders. I was glad to have the tube when I got to the lake and discovered the campgrounds full. That meant launching down the hill on the north end again, something that is much easier to do with a float tube.
While waiting this afternoon for my getaway I took time to tie a new leader and reorganize my fly boxes. When I had the leader finished the fly I tied on was this one:
It's the Carpet Caddis, and it's the fly I've caught fish on the past two trips. So it was on my line when I got to the lake, and it's still on my line tonight. I didn't change flies once all evening.
I started out paddling along the shoreline casting it in to the bank and stripping it back out again. I was thinking Browns, but this precocious Rainbow, still showing its parr marks, came up and slammed it. Bless him.
As I fished, another guy came along in his tube and recognized me. We had chatted last year--he said one year ago today--when we both made a run to the same take-out through rough seas at dark to escape an approaching thunderstorm. He comes for the Drake hatch, and he gave me the good news that they had seen some Sunday evening (he and his buddies were up at the north end, I was down by the channel; they had some protection from the wind, I didn't.)
I kept my eyes peeled for any sign of those big, beautiful mayflies, but I didn't see any this trip. But I saw evidence that the trout may be looking for them, too.
Soon the guy's buddies showed up, four of them, and they were coming up the bank I was fishing heading for the extreme north end. So I headed across the lake to the west side. I decided to leave the Carpet Caddis on and troll it.
Thunder rolled to the north. The main storm missed us, but we got some of the rain off and on for awhile. I worked my way down this side. The fly floated great, and I cast it in toward the willows and stripped and twitched it back.
They slammed the fly just like the first little guy did. I missed a few hits, too. It was very, very nice to have the fish so awake and aggressive. Finally. This is definitely Drake behavior, and it should last awhile.
By the time the crescent moon was visible my fly was pretty well waterlogged. So I decided to troll it again in a big long circle that would take me back to the van by dark.
I wrote in a recent post that it felt like things had turned a corner at the lake. Tonight it feels like we've arrived.