We got another early start and went back to the Ranch. This little Baetis was on my hat in the van, his shuck still stuck to the dash. It turned out to be an omen: the river was dotted with Baetis when we got there. Best of all, there were some good fish working everywhere we looked.
I was the first one in the water, and, to our chagrin, as soon as I approached casting range the good fish went down. All of them. We saw no more steady risers after that. The pleeps were hard at it, but the big fish played it very cagey. They were there, but, as before, they would come up and take a bug with a big ploop or clop, once, maybe twice, then disappear.
We worked hard to find them and bring them to a fly, but nothing, not even the tried and true, worked. As an example, I drifted an ant around a weed mat, and, just where it should have, a fish came up and took. But it was a little tiny pleep. There should have been a big fish there. In past years, there has been.
All too soon it was time to wade out for lunch. The good thing was that we were expecting Pete to meet us. He was waiting for us when we got to the ford.
That was a good time.
Pete's time with us would be short, and he decided, based on our fishing report, not to mess with fishing. So he and Mark went off to buy some big ribeyes for supper and hang out back at camp building up a big bed of coals. John and I waded back in for what would be the final push.
As John and I were heading down the path by the river a large fish took something with a big splashy rise right along the edge of a weed mat on the other side of the river. I waded in and drifted an ant right along that very edge, once, twice, three times, four... nothing. Once again, it should have worked, but it simply didn't.
We covered a lot of river, checked out all the good spots, and pulled out all our tricks, but nothing worked. There were precious few bugs on the water, and even when a few PMD's started popping neither of us found any steady risers. I even went back to that first weed mat and drifted a PMD along its edge. John went after a big rise--one big rise--and tried everything, even a streamer. But, in the final analysis, nada.
There was only one thing to do: we headed back to camp for some brother time--and an excellent supper.