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October is almost half over, and I think we can say that the final countdown of the season has begun. I've had to struggle with a busy schedule to get to the lake recently, and, once you let the balance tip, once you stumble in your pace, it's amazing how something you love, something that provides a center for your life, quickly slides down on the priority list.
Then there's the matter of letting your eyes wander and losing focus. I admit I was lured away by the Henry's Fork, and even my own home river has tempted me with swirling Chinooks and secretive Steelhead. But the big trips are over, and my river can wait.
So I hereby vow to tip back the balance, step up the pace, and be on the water often enough to become once again a central character in the denouement of this season's story.
Today was a good start. I loaded up the canoe and accouterments and made my getaway up over the ridge and down to lakeside. It was clear, sunny, and warm. It was also windy. I started in my shirtsleeves, but when the sun dipped behind the mountain that summery wind began to blow fall.I set up in the channel and threw the Bomber again and was delighted to see fish swirling at it, and even more delighted to have this pretty good fish take it with a vengeance. I had just decided to let off stripping and let it drift with the wind, and this fish preferred a sitting target.
I blew on up to the upper lake and kept up with the Bomber out in open water. Yes, it's open, but it's not that deep here, and trout lurk in the weed forests just out of sight below.
I exercised the Bomber options: I let it sit, and I stripped it. This Brown liked the strip.
Here's a good example of the Browns I was catching last Sunday. (Again, I didn't want to have him on the deck. I forgot my net today--it's on the float tube--and he wouldn't stay on my lap for a photo.) This one's not as big as last week's fish, but he's just as beautiful.
I really need to tie up a couple new Bombers. This one's getting a little raggedy.
The wind backed off, but there was a persistent breeze throughout the rest of the evening. A few small fish tried to make a rise of it, but, maybe due to the rain we had over the weekend, the lake was subdued.
I caught a small fish on an ant, and lost another when he succeeded in exchanging himself for a clump of weeds.
I paddled in with the cold breeze in my face, fish smell on my hands, and a settled feeling in my mind. I loaded up and dodged cows and deer and made it home as the Big Dipper was just coming into its own in the new dark.
I left the canoe on the rack, and everything packed.