Sunday, October 2, 2011

Trout Lake Report: Uh Oh

Like life itself, fishing is just one thing after another. How well one can adjust to the unexpected makes all the difference. The nice thing about fishing is that it isn't life and death, so the only thing at stake is your own sense of accomplishment or pleasure.

I went to the lake this afternoon instead of vegging out in front of the array of baseball and football games available today. It was a good choice. October has already begun to paint the sky and the landscape in darkly beautiful autumnal tones. The world was hushed and peaceful.


Until I came through the channel and started down the shoreline across from the campground. Some nice folks were having a party--a loud party. Trucks were coming and going, people were laughing and shouting, and under it all a generator was roaring away. Uh oh.

I just kept going and put a little distance between me and them. Along the way I was catching some fish lured up to the surface by the wake of the Bomber. Most were of the smallish variety, but this one was a fine specimen of an Autumn Rainbow.


Halfway down the shoreline (I could still hear that generator) I caught another fish. When I flexed the bamboo rod to pull the fly line out of the tip top guide I heard a crack. Uh oh. The tip had snapped off just at the ferrule. Now I have a bamboo rod with one tip. But you know, I'm glad it was a Montague and not a Paine or some other astronomically expensive cane rod.


I paddled back to the truck and decided not to risk the remaining bamboo tip just yet. So I went with my other antique rod, a thirty-year-old Cabelas. It seemed positively, well, modern compared to the bamboo. It was so light I thought it might just fly away in the breeze.

This time I went the opposite direction through the channel and out into the south end of the lake. Soon the sound of the generator was just a memory. The breeze was dying and feathery white midges were wafting off the surface, and the trout were on them. I caught one more small fish on the Bomber, then tied on a House of Harrop emerger, a souvenir of my Henry's Fork trips. It worked just fine. Rene would have been proud.


I caught a nice handful of fish, mostly small, and then, as dusk settled down, a fish broke me off. Uh oh. I liked that souvenir. But I have more, and it makes no sense to never use them. Fishing, like life, is risk. And this risk had paid off with some lively fishing.

The rises had thinned out somewhat, but there were still some hungry fish grabbing things off the surface. I  was some distance from the truck, so I thought I'd take my chances with something big again and tow it behind me as I made my way back. I went with a big brown version of the Bomber that I just tied up last week.

Halfway back something grabbed it. I may have been lax, letting my attention wander, expecting that any hit would be another small fish. I raised the rod and whatever it was went instantly bye bye, taking the fly and the tippet with it. Uh oh. It took a long time to stack all that deer hair. Then again, I've learned something from this experience.

I thought I deserved another chance, so I tied on the black deer hair Muddler that served me so well at Chopaka, turned around and began a big loop of the upper south end. By the time it was dark, and the crescent moon was glowing through the cloud cover, and the frogs were singing their October song, I had caught four more fish, two of them of respectable size.

That was enough; I reeled in and paddled back to the truck with a great sense of accomplishment and pleasure.

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