Some friends who happen to live up near Cutthroat Lake did their spring branding on Saturday. When it comes to cattle I'm a tenderfoot, so I'm not usually an official crew member--although one year I got to pitch in and hold down the hindquarters of one steer who escaped the branding cage and had to be branded the old-fashioned way, on the ground. I still like to be there and take lots of photos.
I got there at my usual time on Saturday but they were already finished. They had a bigger crew this year--sons and grandsons, a regular family reunion--only 29 steers to do, and they used a new and quicker method for the castrating: rubber bands. Doesn't seem like the Cowboy Way to me.
So all that was left to do was give the kids rides on one of the cow ponies--and eat. They always lay out a big spread, the more the merrier.
My plan was to go do some serious fishing at Cutthroat Lake after the branding, but when I pulled up at lake side it seemed way too crowded: Memorial Day campers, fishermen, boaters, and even swimmers. So I activated Plan B and swung over to Trout Lake.
There were and have been other fishermen there, but this lake, with its restricted gear regulations--no bait, single barbless hook, electric motors only--tends to attract fishermen serious about fishing. There may have been a few more campers there, but I was still able to get in at the channel and fish the upper section of the south lake again.
It was a wonderful afternoon, bright and hot, a real taste of summer. I threw a small muddler for awhile, with no effect; I fished some nymphs under a lightly bobbing indicator, still with no effect, other than complete relaxation.
I decided to try the Carpet Caddis again. So far this season it hasn't quite come into its own. But it did on Saturday. I flipped it out along the shoreline and had an immediate hit.
I leisurely worked my way down the shoreline casting into the endless little nooks and crannies, and found fish of all kinds who couldn't do without it.
I crossed the lake and worked back up the other side into the channel. I caught more fish along the way, and missed a few, too.
The breeze calmed down and I spent a lovely time with a little dry on my line chasing rises in the channel. I hooked more than I netted. One fish instantly wrapped around a log and broke me off.
The sun went down behind the mountain and I took a break to put my jacket on. Then I tied the Carpet Caddis back on.
I give Plan B an "A."