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I couldn't get to the lake on Monday, so I spent some time at the tying desk. I was eager to get out yesterday and try my new creations. I was able to get there earlier than usual, so I was in the water by 2:30.
The weather is finally breaking hot. It was in the high 80's yesterday, with 90's on the way. And there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
There was a breeze blowing from the north. It's very nice to be able to say that I didn't wear a jacket, and that the cool breeze felt good on such a hot day. But I was thinking nymph and indicator so I headed across the lake to a sheltered area and set up along this sunny shoreline.
There were some little fish jumping out of the water right up on the willows, maybe taking damsels, so when I cast out one of my new nymphs I was expecting to catch one of them, if anything. I figured this was bonus time, time to play and experiment, and that the serious fishing would begin later.
I had a take right away, but missed him. Damn kids.
On the second take--looked just like the first--I was ready and came up on a fish. It started headshaking and I knew I was onto a nice fish. I was thinking Brown. It bore deep and bulldogged furiously, just like a Brown would. And it never jumped, as most of my Rainbows have.
When I got it up to where I could see it I still thought Brown, but when it came out of the stained water in a roll its sides flashed in the sun: Rainbow.
That was a nice beginning. I liked my new nymph. I tied it on a #12 hook, pretty well weighted with lead wire. The tail is pheasant tail tips, the body is peacock herl with a copper wire rib, the thorax is peacock herl with a shellback of the pheasant tail, and the legs are the shellback ends tied back and clipped fairly short.
Around here it's a generic fly. I found it on a BC web site, and it didn't even have a name; it was simply listed under "Indicator Nymphs." There is a whole raft of flies that use pheasant tail and peacock herl as the main ingredients, the Carey Special streamer being the most famous, I suppose. There's a nymph called the Halfback in the book Flies of the Northwest, that uses the same materials although the fly in the book was tied on a longer hook, and without a tail.
But, what's in a name? It worked.
I cast it out again, and soon had another take. Again, I was expecting a little fish, but as soon as the headshaking began I knew better. And again, I was thinking Brown. This time I was right.
All that in the first hour. I don't want to say that the pressure was off. I wouldn't want to think that I feel "pressured" to catch fish. Let's just say that my strong preference for catching fish had been amply satisfied.
So I tried another nymph for awhile--no hookups--and when I paddled around a bend and saw a little fish enthusiastically taking damsels, I tied on my Damsel in Distress and played with that for awhile. I still don't know if it works; I spooked that first fish with a bad cast.
So I put the generic nymph back on and liesurely paddled down the shoreline, heading in a southerly direction. I had several takes, but missed them. I think these were little fish; they were playing all along the shoreline.
When I passed the eagle I thanked him for letting me fish in his water.
I got down to a big bay that I haven't visited for a long time. It's usually crowded, so it must have fish in it, but today it was deserted. Here, in the shadow of the mountain, evening had already begun.
I was wanting to see whether this bay might have any Hex action going on. I also like it back here where you feel farthest away from everything--the campgrounds, the road--and where the air is scented with pine, you can hear the Canyon Wrens, and rocks tumble down the scree now and then and wake up the sleepy echoes.
By then it was break time, and I found a place where I could get in and get out. Beautiful, peaceful, but thick with mosquitoes.
A swarm of them followed me back out to open water where I paddled around and cast the nymph and indicator and waited to see what would happen.
I had just decided to troll around and had tied on a Carey Special (new; just tied it Monday) when way over by the south shore of the bay I started seeing what might have been the odd floating leaf here and there, but could have been Hexes. I didn't see any take off, though, with their helicopterish flight. But then I saw something fluttering in the water and paddled over to find this.
That changed my plans. I clipped off the Carey Special and tied on a Hex and cleared for action. The wind had died, and trout were getting active. But they were clearly on the midges and individual fish would plow by taking everything in reach. I put the Hex down in front of them, but they ignored it.
I stayed with the Hex, alternating between shoreline and open water, waiting for a real hatch, but it never came. Just a few individual flies.
The forerunners, I hope.
I stayed until dark, just in case something would happen, but the trout activity slowed down and stopped, and peace reigned over the lake. I tied the Carey Special back on by the light of my headlamp and started the long troll back. Over where the evening star used to shine a star rose over the mountains, and kept rising, getting brighter and brighter. It was the space station, or some other large space object, and it passed over the lake from west to east.
Down here, I completed my little orbit, listening to the Nighthawks and the bats, smelling a campfire, and thinking about a very good afternoon.