Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Trout Lake Report: Spring Green, Spring Blue, Spring Brown

I was waiting for Monday. After a week of overcast, cool temperatures, and rain, Monday was to be warm and sunny. Tuesday is to be warmer yet. So I loaded the truck and drove up to the lake Monday afternoon with plans to return on Tuesday. There are fewer RV's and people at the lake now, but I still went to the north end, farthest from the campgrounds.

It was warmer than the last time, but a stiff wind was blowing out of the south, so a jacket still felt good. I began with a scud under an indicator again, the rig that got me my first fish last trip, but the lake was probably too choppy this time. Scuds swim with a darting motion, but they don't bounce up and down.

So I rigged up with a big bead head nymph and began trolling to the other side.


That bead head did the trick this time.


This is the one I used on Monday. In this lake natural colors, black or green work best, but that won't stop me from using red or purple or white--and I've caught fish on those, too. I also find that bead heads like this tend to find the right depth at the trolling speed I can maintain in the tube. But I've also had some luck dredging classic streamers and big woolly buggers. But when I need to catch a fish, I'll go to a bead head.


On the other side I went back to the scud, and had a few bumps along a point, but I missed them. I tied on a non-bead head nymph--I'm nothing if not consistent--and drifted with the wind along the shoreline. That's a nice way to travel. I passed the inlet stream, which is now quiet, its job done. The lake is full.


I made the turn and started along the far north end.



I was halfway across when I heard a big splash behind me. (It was ahead of the tube, but I'm facing backwards in the tube, if you see what I mean.) I twisted around and saw an Osprey sitting in the water about ten yards away, its wings splayed out on the surface. I was able to watch as it raised its wings and lifted itself out of the water with powerful downstrokes, a trout twisting in its talons. Always awesome.


I thought maybe I would have caught that trout if the Osprey hadn't gotten there first--it was right in my path--but as it was I hadn't caught anything on that nymph by the time I pulled over and took a break.


When I went back to fishing I decided to work that Osprey's fishing hole a little bit. If I could have flown up and dropped down on an unsuspecting trout I would have, but instead I went back to the indicator. I tried the scud and got some more bumps, but no hookups. I tried a chironimid nymph and didn't even get bumps.

So I changed tactics. I knotted on a Muddler. I didn't grease it, wanting to fish it just below the surface. Then I started paddling back around the shoreline the way I had come towing the Muddler behind me. I didn't necessarily expect it to work, I just wanted it to work. And it did. This Rainbow hit it hard.


That gave me confidence in that Muddler, and I had a plan now. I got back around to the inlet stream and started working the line of newly submerged willows around the little bay there. This has traditionally been a good spot for fish, especially in the heat of summer when the inlet stream keeps the lake there nice and cool. It has also, incidentally, been a place where I have found a few good Browns.


Was I thinking Brown Trout? Not consciously, but you better always be in a Brown mood if you start working any of those weedy bays over there. I cast the Muddler up to some willows, and the water moved, something swirled, I felt a bump--or just a brush. Things were fishy. I stripped in fast and got a follow. I cast back and stripped and got a take, but it let go. The next cast I hooked up with something, but it quickly came off.

I slowly worked my way along, casting in to the willows and stripping back fast, and had another hookup and a few strong pulls before that fish came off. Then, finally, I was stripping away and the fly just stopped. I set and was on to a good fish. I didn't know what I had when I took this photo. I just knew it was a heavy fish.


It was when the fish kept boring down and boring down that it occurred to me it might be a Brown. No more messing with the camera after that. I got down to work, hoping that the well-used 5X tippet would hold. It took awhile, but I got the fish close enough to see a flash of yellow belly, and I knew what I had. Then I really started sweating it. I wanted that Brown. It was a great relief to feel its weight settle into the net as I lifted it from the water. What a beauty.


I didn't get any more takers from that bay after that, but I didn't care. The wind was backing off and the day was ending, and a few trout were rising to a thin cloud of midges over the water. But I stayed with the Muddler.



I began to paddle in ever so slowly, dragging the Muddler along, and caught a few more Rainbows.


The Spring greens and Spring blues were merging in the fragrant, peaceful dusk. But that Spring Brown was still vivid in my mind.

10 comments:

  1. Jim
    Outstanding post!!What is the temp in this lake in the summer months? The colors on that rainbow are amazing. Do you fish with the Tungston beadhead or just a regular beadhead. I have used both and the Tungston seems to have a faster sink rate than the regular beadhead. I will always go to the Muddler when nothing else is working for me, it seems to bring out the hits. Thanks for sharing a great post!!

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    1. Don't know the temp of the water; need to get a thermometer some day. I used regular beads, but I like the tungsten; have used them on steelhead flies. I have always found the muddler or a stimulator or other big waking fly will get results, to the consternation of chironimid purists.

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  2. Wonderful story of what sounds like a great day on the water. Those are some nice trout , especially that big brown ,what a fish!
    That last shot almost looks like a watercolor painting...beautiful.

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    1. That last shot surprised me. I had been messing with camera settings and somehow the "compensate for shadow, compensate for brightness" setting--I think--gave that low light shot it's graininess.

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  3. Great report, with wonderful photos. That Muddler is going to be one your staples. It's a producer.

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    1. The muddler already is one of my favorites, in various shades and sizes. I usually fish it dry. And stimulators, don't forget the stimulators.

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  4. Hi Jim. Just found your blog and added it to my blogroll. Mark from Northern California Trout (northerncaliforniatrout.com). Wonder how a tungsten bead head Thin Mint would work in your lake. It's been a killer for me.

    Mark

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    1. Glad to have you along; thanks for taking the time to comment. And for the tip on the Thin Mint. I'll look that one up and give it a try.

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  5. Great story. I was with you the whole way. It's cool that you took the cue from the Osprey. They know. Like big time know. Muddlers are awesome. So versatile. A streamer or even a dry. Trolling in a tube must be pretty wild. I liked how the day started as an exploration, the climax of the brown,the cool down with a few rainbows, the peaceful ending with green and blues. A truly amazing day. Thanks so much for taking us along.

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  6. My great pleasure. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Greatly appreciated. Trolling in a tube is like it felt back in my running days when you hit your pace and feel like you could go on forever. Of course I don't; I often stop to take a photo of this or that.

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