Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trout Lake Report: All Is Well

The heat stays for another day. The town's time and temperature sign makes it official.

The lake is as hot as the town. The wind is gone and the sun is bright. Everything basks in the heat.

A fellow angler has usurped my parking place on the north end. I go on to the northern limit of the lake. Yesterday's break area becomes my new put in. It puts me right on the doorstep of where I lost the good fish. So that's where I begin, casting and stripping a big muddler. I probe the area carefully, but this time nothing comes.

I start around the lake, working the muddler into the contours of the shoreline. It becomes a discipline after awhile, a ritual of hope. I move fish but seldom hook up. When I do hook up, the fish, with the reckless energy of youth, run right off the hook. I enjoy every minute of it.

I have covered a lot of water, and the sun is dipping behind the mountain, when I pay heed to the writing on the wall. It is an ant evening. They dot the calm surface. Some wriggle helplessly, some lie still in a spent position. The fish make no distinction; they eat them all.

I tie on my winged ant imitation. The fish eat it, too.

I fish the ant until dusk, then switch back to the muddler. I cut the tippet back to 4X. I start working up the other shoreline. Soon it's too dark to see the fly land. But I cast and strip. The bats don't mind me, but the beavers are alarmed. They depth charge all around me as I pass. I hope I don't hook one.

I get a bump, then a take. I've been thinking big marauding Browns, and my heart skips a beat, but this is a medium-sized fish, a Rainbow. I admire its spirit and release it without a photo.

I work all the way up to where yesterday I had seen rises ripple the reflection of Venus. I cover the area but nothing moves. By now Venus has set behind the mountain. I turn and head back, stripping out line and letting the muddler trail far behind me. The stars are bright and a light breeze freshens, bringing the scent of pines still warm and redolent from the sun.

The line pulses and a fish is on. I play it in the dark, net it, and see by the faint afterglow in the west that it's another Rainbow, bigger than the first. I record it for posterity.

I use my head lamp to find the take out and climb up to the truck. By the time I start the truck and pull out onto the road it's ten o'clock. And all is well.