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Summer leans near, and Friday was warm and beautiful. I got Mark all geared up and we headed to the lake. Seems that one person makes a trip, two or more make an expedition. I was glad that, thanks to brothers Pete and John, Mark had everything he needed to take the plunge into fly fishing after a long hiatus.
The lake is down a bit. I hoped that might bring the fish up.
The wild roses are blooming with abandon, the bees and Spring Azure butterflies are working. I was hoping the fish would be working, too.
Mark was a fanatical fly fisherman back in the day. His glory days were in rivers, wet wading in cutoffs and tennis shoes with brother John back when they were in high school, the 70's version of extreme angling. He used the same reel yesterday that he used then, a Pflueger Medalist purchased in 1970. But he had never been in a float tube, or wore those silly flippers. He approached the new experience gamely but with some trepidation.
The water was calm, and Mark quickly oriented himself to the 360 degree world of float tubing. There were a few fish rising, and I saw right away that Mark hadn't lost his sweet cast.
I thought he was going to stay pretty close to the put in, but it wasn't long before he was drifting down the channel into the north lake.
I was casting a little Adams, targeting what rises I could reach--not many--but the fish were picky. They wanted midges, only midges, one at a time, every now and then. Finally, I let the fly drift behind me while I was changing positions, and this fish hit it and missed. I cast right back to him and he came up again and took. Not big, but welcome.
Mark was way out in the main lake, so I paddled over. While I was on my way the wind came up, and, as is the way, it was blowing against us as we turned to make our way back to the truck for a break. Mark's real education about float tubing was beginning.
We made it back, but Mark had discovered some new, unused muscles. He took a little longer break than I did.
The wind laid back after awhile, sprinkles dappled the water, and we fished on.
Mark was throwing dries. He got a hit on a Muddler, and then on a Stimulator, but missed them. I was using the Hare's Ear nymph under an indicator, and only got one pull, which I also missed.
We both switched to tiny flies, trying to key in on the trout as they keyed in on those swarming midges. I found a fish chain rising in my direction and dropped the fly in his path, and he took it, but quickly jumped off the hook. That was the extent of the action.
Conditions were perfect for an evening rise, and I hoped Mark would be able to experience that phenomenon, but the rises gradually petered out, and by the time the bats were coming out it was hard to find a single one.
I proposed trolling, but by then paddling around in a big circle, even without wind, didn't seem to excite Mark. He paddled in and I made the circuit. I trolled a micro leech on the first leg with no results, and then switched to a black Wooly Bugger on the return trip.
Right at the mouth of the channel I hooked up. It was a little bigger than the first fish, and I got him in the net, but while I was trying to extricate my light from the float tube pocket for a photo he flipped off my lap and off the fly. I got a couple bumps after that, and a good pull, but that was all.
It was a good first trip of many with Mark, and as he rubbed his tired muscles he pronounced float tubing good--and the lake so great.