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.
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.
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.
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.