Off I went to Early Lake. A brand new license made me right, the float tube was pumped up tight, the rod and the reel were light, the leader was long and the tippet was slight, and the trout were in sight. They were rising everywhere.
I paddled out trailing the little bugger I had tied on at the truck expecting to have to wait for rises, and quickly caught the first fish of the season.
Before I knew it I had the second fish of the season.
I switched to a little Adams and started casting to rises.
I soon caught the first fish of the season on a dry.
It was about then that it started to sink in. I thought about where I was and what I was doing. A shift between paradigms was occurring right then. Winter, and rivers, and Steelhead were passing away; and Summer, and lakes, and trout were taking their place. I felt the shift, and suddenly I physically relaxed way down deep, and a smile bloomed on my face that didn't go away for a good ten minutes.
All the fish were small, but I caught them virtually at will. There were complaints last year that this lake didn't receive a big enough stocking. Looks like they put plenty in this year. And I had a strong sense that every one of those fish were happy as could be to be out of the hatchery and into their perfect habitat. They swam and fed and leaped with joy. Although I could have been projecting.
A break felt good after a couple of hours.The day was springy, but the water is still icy cold. My feet enjoyed a little warming up time.
I pushed off again for the evening rise, but the afternoon rise was still going strong. I tried a couple different dry flies and caught fish on each.
As the day waned I tied on a classic muddler and began stripping it and trailing it behind the float tube. I was curious if the fish would go for it.
I started paddling in, but it took me a long time to get to shore. I kept finding more fish who wanted to play. Right at the takeout I cast up into the inlet stream and stripped the muddler as the current carried it down into the lake, and I found fish there, too.
It was a wonderful afternoon and evening.
And a beautiful day for a paradigm shift. Tomorrow is a new day.