Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lake Report: Bear

Click on photos for full size image.
A memorable afternoon and evening.
I took the canoe today, mainly because the most recent heat wave broke over the weekend and I was in the mood to stay dry for a change (leaky waders.) It gets cool on these evenings at the lake.
Also, sad to report, the old leak on the right side of the float tube is active again. I need to get at it with the repair kit before I can take it out again.
I got to the lake early in the afternoon and headed out to the weed bed. On a whim I tied on this big deer hair fly. I tied it for Grande Ronde Steelhead, known for taking a waking fly. But it has a black body, so I thought there might be a big trout here that would like it.
A Steelhead wannabe.
I could have cast right to the weeds, and it would have been a very different day. But there was the bank, near and inviting, so in a what the hell moment I cast over to it.
Bang. A fish hit it on impact. For a split second I thought it must be a little bank hugger, but then the head shaking began. It got into the weeds for a few heart stopping moments, but I horsed it out and netted this very fine Brown.
Nice start, for the day, but also, I'm hoping, for hopper time. I prospected the bank off and on the rest of the day but didn't find another fish like this one. But I found this one.
I turned my attention to the weed bed and found the fish very amenable to a big waking fly.
I caught a small Rainbow and released it in the water. I got many swirls and short strikes. And then I hooked and netted another pretty nice fish.
Then, inexplicably, the fish turned off. I tried various flies and combinations of flies, and enjoyed the process. It's a little like losing yourself in a good crossword puzzle. Challenging and relaxing at the same time.
The midges popped with a vengeance, and I noticed this, something I've seen many times. See if you can see it.
It's a midge still trailing a very long shuck. (I assume it's a shuck.) Why doesn't anyone tie midge flies with a three inch shuck? Rene Harrop gets credit for the "CDC Midge," which is the Griffith's Gnat with one little tuft of CDC tied on as a wing. Think I'll invent "Jim's Midge," a Griffith's Gnat with a long piece of white thread tied on the ass end.
Evening settled in and I put on my jacket and was glad to have it. The wind, which had been blowing all afternoon, backed off, and fish started rising. I had settled on a little tiny dry earlier, and had gotten some splashy rises to it, but now I was getting no takers.
I changed to a darker fly. Still no takers. I'm sure I would have figured out that something-letter word for "the right fly," but there was a distraction.
There are four guys camping at the lake now, gear fishermen trolling, trolling, trolling. Earlier I heard them talking about seeing a bear cub this morning near camp. They were out in their two boats this evening, and one guy called out to the other boat, "Deer in the water." At least that's what I thought he said.
I've seen deer in the water, so I kept casting. As the other boat got nearer the guy called out again, and this time I heard him right: "Bear in the water!"
It was about half grown, I'd say, but it was a fast swimmer. I learned the other day that this is bear season; this cub may be an orphan.
It's the first bear I've seen at the lake. The fact it was swimming is a bonus.
I took a rickety video of it. You'll see the bear swimming just like a big waking Steelhead fly, and you'll see a couple trout rising. And you'll see one of the boats following the bear with a guy taking a video of it.
So, if you want to see a good video of this bear just watch mine and check the menu of other "swimming bear" videos. I bet you'll find his.


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