I took some time to check out the lake Wednesday evening. This is my lake of preference, my true home waters, and it's a joy to be a part of its slow and profound changes over the course of a season.
Hopper time should be near, so I threw a hopper for awhile just to see. Nothing yet. It didn't help that a swirling wind was blowing, and that the thin strip of sheltered water against the bank was constantly being disturbed.
So I trolled. I hooked and lost a fish, then finally landed a nice one.
So I went back to dries. The wind conveniently backed off, and a few fish were rising. I tied on the black ant and managed to put it right on the nose of a toothy riser.
I hooked and lost another, but it wasn't long before the ant stopped getting attention. There was a heavy hatch going on of size 22 white midges. The fish were on them. Enthusiastically.
I witnessed a phenomenon I hadn't seen before. The wind had raked up a lot of cottonwood fluff and other debris, and it festooned the lake in long swaths. The fish were concentrating on the edges and the interior of those swaths. The challenging part of that scenario was that a light breeze continued to swirl, and the swaths--and the fish--were constantly slipping away from me and my fly.
On top of that, I couldn't find the right fly. Usually some of the fish, often the bigger ones, will be opportunistic and take any reasonable fly in their eagerness to fill their stomachs. Not this time. I haven't suffered so much rejection in a long time.
Still, it was absorbing fishing, and I forgot everything except the fish and the fly until the bats and the stars came out.
So another day on the lake, unlike any that came before, came to a close. And who knows what tomorrow will bring?