Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lake Report: Nice. Real Nice.

Click on photos for full size image.
I pulled up to the south end and a gentleman from BC was there, so, in spite of a strong south wind, I drove on up and launched on the channel. I was glad I did.
I had a plan. I began with a medium sized Stimulator with a black ant dropper and fished the bank along the channel. I haven't fished an ant for awhile, so it seemed worth a try. And I'm still expecting the fish to get on hoppers any day now. In spite of the wind there were pockets of calm under the willows, but I got no takes.
I came out of the channel and began to fish both sides of this slot between the bank and a weed bed.
I was enjoying myself immensely. The wind was to my back, the line laid out nicely, and the flies drifted enticingly with the current. After awhile I decided to try another pattern I haven't used much here, so I tied on a scud and concentrated on the edge of the weeds.
I got a strong take on the scud. The fish hit it so hard that the Stimulator popped under with a splash and I thought that's what the fish had taken. I got a firm hookup, and at first the fish didn't seem to know quite what to do. Then he dove for the weeds--hard--and the 6x dropper snapped at the fly.
But it was a good fish.
I tied on another scud--this time on 5X--and worked my way down the weed bed again. I probably should have stayed with 6X. At any rate, I didn't get another take. The eagle smiled down on my puny efforts from his great height.
The wind was still blowing hard, so I dipped into my bag of tricks and tied a medium muddler on the 5X. It has a gold tinsel body, black marabou tail, peacock herl underwing, black marabou overwing, and natural deer hair head and collar. Pretty fly. I was remembering windy days when the fish would take it as the line straightened out and the fly began to drag in the waves.
I cast it way out quartering against the wind, and found I started getting bumps and swirls when I stripped it steadily in. On about the third cast I had it within ten feet of the float tube when a fish came up and engulfed it.
It was a good fish. I was framing the shot in my mind when it came off. I was on the lee edge of the weed bed and maybe it got into some weeds just enough to lever the hook out. I didn't feel any weeds. But I did feel good.
I decided to paddle back to the other side of the weeds, and towed the muddler behind me. I was just thinking about picking it up as it approached the weeds when a fish slammed it. Scared me. I rared back on the rod and the 5X tippet snapped. But I still felt good.
The wind sat down as the sun dipped behind the mountain, and fish began to rise. This wasn't a mindless feeding orgy of the small fry; this was good fish coming up to get their supper. It was a beautiful thing to see.
The midges were coming off heavily, and there were some little caddis in the mix, and even a few callibaetis. I elected to go with a CDC caddis. It's probably a 14, but I've had some luck with it. There were many single rises, and I wasn't getting anything to come up to my fly as it sat on the open water, or as I twitched it along. But there were a few cruising fish rising two, three, four times before going down.
I found one heading my way. It's one of the greatest joys of this sport: laying your fly in the path of a feeding fish and watching his rises get nearer and nearer, then that last rise just before your fly, then the suspense...and--bloop!--it takes your fly.
This fish took line off the reel as it headed straight for the weeds, but I managed to keep him from getting in too deep, and then was able to extricate him and get him into the net.
The moon was brightening in the darkening sky, and trout continued to rise.
I switched to a smaller fly and sat in the midst of the peace and beauty and cast to my heart's content.
I missed a few hits--enjoying every minute of it.
Then I saw another fish working toward me. My fly was waiting for him when he got there, and he took it. Nice.
Real nice.

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