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The "how ya doin'" guy is back. I saw his RV set up in the south campground when I arrived Tuesday afternoon. I didn't know it was him then, I just knew I'd probably have to share the lake with someone. No one was in sight when I got there, so I hoped they had moved up around the bend to fish.
It was another gem of a day, temperatures pushing 80, the first day this year that I fished in shirt sleeves. There was a frisky wind blowing, but for the first time this year it actually felt good in the hot sun.
I fished a scud under an indicator. After a long time the indicator finally dipped and then popped back up before I could set the hook. That was the pattern for awhile, the fish spitting the fly out almost immediately. I missed a lot of takes because I had taken my eyes off the indicator for a split second.
I finally focused in and managed to hook this beauty right on the tip of its top lip. What a torpedo--not so big and heavy, but very long for its size.
I kept at it with the scud and indicator. The lake level has begun to rise, which is a good thing, but for a few days every Spring the rising water picks up lots of loose material along the banks and dirties the water. It requires cleaning off your fly every few casts, and keeping an eye out for possibly hazardous items such as branches and logs.
I caught another nibbler after awhile.
Things slowed down after that, or my focus waned. It seems whenever I'd turn to watch something, like an osprey hitting the water and lifting off with its catch, I'd get a dainty tug on the indicator and turn back just in time to see it popping back up again.
More than once I'd be watching these and several other pairs of Goldeneyes and turn back to see the indicator missing in action, raise the rod and feel the fly pop out of the fish's mouth.
But these Goldeneyes were worth watching. The mating pairs seem to be established, the partners meeting each other with head bobbing. But there seem to be some unresolved territorial issues among the males. So suddenly one of the males would launch himself out of the water--that takes a fairly long runway, wings whistling, feet pattering along the water's surface--and fly straight toward another male with bad intent.
Then they would fight, whaling away at each other with their wings and bills and feet, churning the water to a froth, diving to fight underwater, bursting out to fight on the surface again. Finally one would retreat, and the victor would chase him for a ways, then return to his mate. Until it happened all over again.
I saw a Callibaetis again--but only one. Still, I decided to try my luck with a Callibaetis dry again. Just as I was tying it on, the "how ya doin'" guy came out of his RV. I still didn't know it was him. But he and another guy started setting up their inflatable boats and getting ready to fish.
Meanwhile, the wind was sitting down, and my hopes for an evening rise were getting up. There were some fish coming up, but they were few and scattered, and I wasn't getting any good targets.
The two guys launched and started trolling. They could have headed away from me, but they elected to come circling around where I was. One of them was wearing a big white hat, and that seemed vaguely familiar to me. He was also talking constantly, and just a little bit too loudly, in a high reedy voice. That also seemed way too familiar.
I tried to keep my distance, but the white hat came closer and closer. My back was turned to him when he said, just a little too loudly, "How ya doin"?" And I knew.
He had been here last year, and simply wouldn't stop trying to drag me into conversation. I'm usually quite a sociable fellow, but not when I'm on the water. My goal then is solitude, if possible; but if I need to share the water, then all I ask is to be left alone. I'll return the favor.
The fish weren't rising like they had Monday evening, and the "how ya doin'" guy was asking me questions (he apparently didn't remember me), so I decided to call it a day. I had to announce that to them, so they could move out of my path to the take out.
As I was paddling in one of the Goldeneye males launched himself and flew straight toward the "how ya doin'" guy and his big white hat. For just a moment I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great if that bird thinks that big white hat is another male encroaching on his territory...." It didn't happen, but I would have enjoyed that.
Is that wrong?