The first snows have dusted the high peaks as Winter begins its slow, inexorable descent.
It's long handles time, and two or three layers under the rain jacket is welcome in the chill of dusk. Tuesday was mild whenever the sun could break out of the windswept clouds, and chilly when it couldn't.
Beauty, however, is weather neutral, and it was on fine display.
The trout were cruising just under the rolling waves. They ignored the Bomber, but came up with a vengeance to whack the waking Carpet Caddis. Not all were hooked, their enthusiasm overpowering their aim. But some were.
Later, as the last of the wind died away, fish came to the top for wisps of midges and twirling caddis. Several came to my Elk Hair Caddis, and then to a Griffith's Gnat. These were little fish. I debated going deep, but stayed with my first love: dries on top.
Campfires were flickering on shore as I tied on the black Muddler and made a long loop through the smoky stillness. Canyon Wrens sang the day to sleep, and small fish bumped the fly or slashed at it and missed.
I made my way up the channel toward the truck, and as the Muddler reached the channel mouth a fish ambushed it with a sploosh and a jump. I felt it's weight for a moment--not the fish of a lifetime, but the fish of the day--and then the line went slack.
I was just wondering whether to try another cast in the gathering gloom, when the fish jumped again--and again, and again. I knew what that meant, so I wound the flyless line onto the reel and paddled in.
I shivered as I took off my jacket and tugged off my waders. In the glow of the truck's dome light, I could see my breath.