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I went back to Trout Lake the evening after things were so quiet. Quiet, that is, except for little tiny trout, of which there seems to be a multitude this season. The gentleman whom I had met a year ago said this year that his friend, a biologist, feels the DNR overdid it with fingerlings in the Spring stocking. I agree, but I also hope that bodes well for the future.
This time there was a strong wind blowing, but it was from the south, so it was at least warm. I decided to test some things I'd heard about such conditions. So I went in on the north end and paddled over in the float tube to the farthest shore where the waves were slapping against the willows at the base of the dike.
The theory is that fish will congregate here on the windward shore to pick off food items carried there by the wind and waves. I've also heard that fish will position themselves to face into the waves just as fish will face into the current in rivers and streams. The recommendation is to cast quartering across the waves to present a fly broadside to the waiting fish.
So that's what I did. I chose a black Muddler, a fly I have caught fish on here before. It has a black marabou tail, a silver tinsel body, an underwing of peacock herl, and a black deer hair head and collar. And it's big, too big for the babies.
The nice thing about casting and stripping is it gives you something to do. I experimented with different retrieves and settled on an erratic retrieve when this nice Rainbow came up and slammed the fly just after I had started to strip it again after letting it sit for a beat.
I soon hooked another one, but it leaped four feet in the air when it felt the hook and came off. Then, a couple of casts later, another one came up and took the fly. These are wonderful takes, as the fish seem to come straight up and hit the fly hard, with a big splash and boil.
I drifted over to the west side and paddled against the wind down along the shoreline, still casting and stripping.
I got more hits, but no hookups. I think they were smaller fish. I tried towing the fly on a long line--surface trolling, if you will--and got a big heart-stopping swirl, but he struck short.
I was enjoying every minute of it.
As the sun began to set I wended my way down a channel for a break, and to put on my jacket. The lake has dropped a few feet, so I found a place where I could stand and stretch much closer to the main lake than on previous trips.
I went back out and rounded a point, and was in new water. The wind sat down and a few fish, mostly little ones, it looked like, began to rise. I changed my waterlogged Muddler for a dry one--same pattern--and stayed with it. I got more near misses, and then, in quick succession, I had two hookups. They weren't huge, but they were nice fish. I was sure that both were firmly hooked, but both came off just at the float tube. I checked the hook; it seemed nice and sharp. One of those things that make you feel you can hardly wait to get back and get another shot at them.
Dusk settled in and I tied on a black beadhead leech and trolled back to the van. I got one bump, if you don't count the bats bumping the line on the surface.
That was OK. I was satisfied. It had finally felt like I was really fishing.