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Another Monday, and another sojourn to the lake. It was one of the warmest days we've had, and the sun was shining brightly. It was the first time this season that my jacket stayed in the float tube pocket the whole time I was there.
I started in the north end at the mouth of the channel where I had found those hungry pods last week. On this day there were a few fish coming up even though the water was wind-riffled. I played around with a muddler and a stimulator, and got some rises but couldn't manage a hookup.
I drifted with the wind down through the channel, dodging geese and ducks along the way.
The water is a rich effluvium of plant matter and insect shucks. I played with an indicator and several different nymphs. There were fish coming up now and again, but I couldn't get any to take my fly.
So I continued to play, and to drift, and to bask in the sun, and to contemplate.
When the wind showed signs of settling down I paddled back up the channel. It was the only time I trolled, and that method, too, failed to bring a hookup.
Back at the mouth of the channel, the water calm now, I tied on a CDC caddis dry in expectation of another feeding frenzy. That never happened. In fact, nothing happened for a long while. Then, one by one, solitary fish began slurping bugs off the top. They were scattered, and never did pod up, so I began moving slowly out into the main lake hoping for a shot at a feeding fish.
A fish came up nearby--one, two, three quick rises--and while the rise rings were still expanding my fly landed in the middle of them, and on the fourth rise the fly disappeared.
Meanwhile, it was supper time in the campground, and fires were being lit. The smoke drifted slowly out of the trees, combined, and formed a smoke trail across the quiet water.
As evening deepened, I continued to move along as slowly and quietly as the smoke. I kept my fly on the water, but was finding few feeding fish close enough to target. I had fish nudge my fly, and twice, I admit, I missed a take when I was looking at who knows what.
About halfway down the shoreline I was seeing some steady rises inside a little bay. I know that bay, and have found good fish there in years past. I picked up speed a little and made for that bay. I kept my fly on the water and drifted it along behind. That's just the way this fish liked it.
When I arrived at the bay nothing was rising, but I positioned myself and made a long cast up toward the willows. The fly alighted and a fish came busting up and took it. It was the fish of the day, and it jumped and wallowed and jumped again--and came loose. It was fun while it lasted.
As the clouds turned rosy and the crescent moon came out, fish continued to rise here and there. The rises were scattered and the pace was slow, but there were some good fish working, big backs pushing up the water, and big mouths sucking in bugs with a pop.
I saw a few Callibaetis, maybe a Mahogany, and lots of smaller bugs--but no Hexes. Yet.
They should be here soon. Conditions are right, and it could prove to be one of the heavier hatches of recent years. I expect things could get crazy around here.
I greatly enjoyed the calm on Monday. But I also enjoy knowing that maybe, just maybe, it's the calm before the storm.