I did get out for a couple of hours over the noon hour, just to take a peek. There was no big hatch while I was there. Do you ever get the feeling that the bugs, too, are hiding from you? It was hot and bright and some fish were rising. I warmed my bones some more, anticipating those cold days to come. And I fished.
I caught some small fish by going small. That was fun.
Then I tied on that green caddisy thing and went back to the shoreline I had fished the other day. I had gotten--and missed--two takes right up tight to the bank there, so I started at that spot. Cast it in and had an immediate take, and pulled the fly out of its mouth. Went right back, got another take, and this time hooked up.
It was this beautiful Brown, not huge, but big and hefty. It fought well. Knowing the territorial nature of Browns, I'm certain it's the same fish I missed the other day.
Now the story gets sad. I quickly took photos, extricated the fly, and lifted him out into the water to revive. I had him in my left hand, as I always do, and just as he got into the water he gave one more surge and slipped out of my hand. That has happened before, and usually the fish floats up where I can right it again and hold it until it's ready to go.
This fish sank like a stone. I could see it cradled belly up in the weeds below me. I tried to reach it with my rod, leaning way over and extending my arm, but either it was out of reach of my 8'9" rod, or the tip wasn't stiff enough to roll it over or move it out of the weeds.
I finally gave up, consigning it to its fate. But I was sorry to have been an unwilling agent of that fate. I know, it's just a trout. But just as I have found a place in the wildness of this special lake, so had this fish. And I like to imagine that, like me, it would have preferred to stay at peace in its sanctuary.
Amid all the changes in the world, I regret this small change: that beautiful Brown was in its place in the great mosaic of things, and now it's not.