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I introduced Mark to another lake on Friday evening. As we wound our way toward Cutthroat Lake a rainbow bloomed out of a heavy plume of rain. "It looks like we're going to drive right to the end of the rainbow," I said.
That's just what we did, and the end of the rainbow was right in the middle of Cutthroat Lake. Not a bad omen.
The rain had passed, and the lake's surface was smooth. Mark went down and saw three rises, and began casting his Muddler.
That first rainbow gradually faded away.
It started to rain again, and the wind shifted from the north, so we sat in the truck for awhile. I had seen Callibaetis coming off in pretty good numbers--the swallows plucking them out of the air as they lifted off the water--so we both tied on an Adams.
Then a second rainbow seemed to rise up out of the ground and quickly went double. Yet another good omen.
The rain quit, and we waited for the wind to settle. True to the omens, it gradually did. I went down and began casting, and Mark stayed in the truck.
It wasn't long before he came down and walked on down the bank from me. He had been watching a steady riser from the truck--the only one; I certainly hadn't seen any--and he was now intent on his prey.
I watched him as he cast, then crouched low watching the little Adams, then twitched it slowly in to cast again. He may have done that three times when I heard him call me. I looked up from my own fly to see that he'd found the pot of gold.
He had 5X tippet on, so he played the fish carefully. Meanwhile, the fish wasn't playing, and took long, deep, head-shaking runs, at one point taking Mark to his backing.
But finally Mark had her. This is him being cool about everything.
This is how he was really feeling.
This is his first trout in Washington, and his best fish in a long, long time. He couldn't stop talking about it on the way home. "And it wasn't a Rainbow, or a Brown," he said, "it was a Cutthroat!"
We took it home and showed Jeremiah. I think this might get him to Cutthroat Lake with us.
Mark cleaned it, as carefully and precisely as someone counting gold coins. The head, he informs me, is going up on the shed door. The rest of it is going to a friend's smoker.