Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brookie Lake Report: A May Day Bouquet

May Day. When we were kids we would hang a paper basket of flowers on the door--dandelions and violets, usually--ring the doorbell and run and hide. There was no basket this May Day, no ringing the bell and hiding. But I did gather a bouquet, a bouquet of beautiful trout.

It was up into the magic valley, down the gravel road through the pines, and right on past Trout Lake this time...

And on to Brookie Lake.

The sky was full of roving rain showers--and Swallows, hundreds and hundreds of Swallows. They were joyously snapping up thousands of midges rising from the water, but the trout were silent.

I started trolling the little Wooly Bugger I had on from the trip to Trout Lake last Saturday. I intended to paddle over to the far side, but I was soon reminded, as I started kicking bottom, that Brookie Lake is extremely shallow except for a crescent of deeper water around the west and north shoreline. I had discovered that the first time I was there in High Summer, and hoped that conditions in Spring might be different. But they aren't.

So I sidled back around and joined a family busy catching fish off the bank. Grandma and the kids--especially Buddy--were seriously outfishing me as I switched to a Carpet Caddis and tried to raise fish that weren't rising. I got a couple of fish to hit the fly, but it was too big for them. I tied on a little Peacock Midge, but, as often happens, the wind and rain kicked up, and I didn't get any more hits.

So I switched to a red bead head Micro Leech and got down to business casting and stripping. It wasn't long before I had the first and best fish of the trip. The spots made me think of dandelions and violets.

Fish started to come. They weren't pushovers; I had to coax them. And their takes were subtle, requiring attention and a deft hookset. It was lots of fun.

Grandma and Buddy stayed for awhile after Mom and the rest of the kids had gone back to camp. But they finally left, too, having caught their limit, I presume. My original plan had been to fish Brookie Lake for a couple of hours, then head back and finish the evening at Trout Lake. But I was having so much fun I decided to stay--and to make sure that, when all was said and done, I had at least outfished Buddy.

Grandma is another story; she looks tough to beat.

So I fished while the wind shifted and switched, the Swallows dipped and veered, and the rain showers swept past trailing their long skirts behind them. And the fish came.

Through it all I kept hoping for an evening rise. Midges began coming off again, and while there was no general rise, a few fish began to rise randomly. I was still hoping to catch a fish on a dry.

I tied the Peacock Midge back on and began stalking rises. The wind was picking up yet again, and the water was getting choppy, when this fish hit the moving fly and missed. I cast right back to it, stripped the fly a foot or so, and he hit again and was hooked. It wasn't the biggest fish of the day, but it was one of my favorites.

By then I had been in the water some four hours, and it was cold water. I confess I was feeling a bit chilled. The rain and wind seemed to have settled in, so I packed it in and headed for home. Of course, when all was said and done, I was happy for Buddy and his Grandma, and all the fun they had together. And I was more than content with a good day, and a beautiful May Day bouquet.


  1. When I saw the title I knew it was going to good. As it turns out it's "Great". What a day. Those brookies are wonderful. And your description, spots look like dandelions and violets is so right.


    1. Yes, great day. You, of course, were my inspiration to get to that lake. These stockers don't have the vibrant color your natives do, but still beautiful.

  2. Jim
    Absolute fantastic images of some beautiful country---and the trout isn’t bad either. I really like the colors on the brook trout. You live in one awesome place to fish for trout, I envy you. I am joining up with your blog to see and read more great post. Thanks for sharing this experience.

    1. I feel fortunate to live here. I'm trying to soak it all up. Glad to have you along.

  3. Definitely worth the chill. Those brookies are quite nice as well. Great pics of the trip too. Thanks for sharing. Tight Lines.

    1. Much worth the chill! Those fish warmed my heart...

  4. now I know why I had a slow day when I went out this weekend,you had all the action,these fish were nice colered


    1. Sorry about your slow day. Your turn now.