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Monday afternoon saw me rolling into a launch site at the channel, the first time I've fished the channel this year. Most of the weekend campers had already left, and it looked like this flooded campsite, right at one of my favorite access points, had not been used.
The high water makes a long channel through the willows to the lake, like an entrance to an enchanted land.
It was blowing hard when I arrived, and thunder was rolling over the east ridge, but it wasn't long before the weather passed on, the lake calmed, and the fish started working. I started working, too, tying on one of these newly-tied Flashback Hare's Ear nymphs.
I moved across the channel trolling the nymph, and halfway across this fish took it.
I set up just across the mid-point of the channel, affixed an indicator, and started working the groove, the middle of the channel where that first fish was, and where most of the risers were working.
I caught fish. The wind kicked up again for awhile, but when things calmed down I caught more fish. I took a break and a stretch, paddled out again and caught more fish. I considered tying on a dry--for a fleeting moment--cast out the Hare's Ear and indicator again, and caught yet more fish.
I was in the groove.
I netted three more fish that flipped off my lap or out of my hand before I could get a photo. I kept it up until almost dark, and didn't even change flies until late when my forceps completed the destruction of that original well-chewed Hare's Ear.
It was hard to quit. The momentum is strong in the groove. But the fish gradually faded away in the darkness, and the channel rested. So I faded away, too. And when I take my rest I'll dream about the next time I'm lucky enough to find my way into the groove.