I'm getting behind in my posts these days. Before I worked over my damsel pattern I made two trips to the lake. The first was on a hot day when fish were taking damsels. I used that first pattern all along the campsite shoreline, now deserted. There were fish, and they certainly saw the fly, but no fish came to it.
I switched to a muddler and stripped it over some weed beds and caught a fish. My pleasure was significantly dimmed when I saw that he was hooked in the eye. Only the second time that's happened to me. I released Ol' One Eye and sincerely wished him well.
I trolled the muddler over to the far shoreline. No fish were caught.
I tied the damsel back on and really worked that shoreline for a long time. I finally caught a fish. He was one of those fish, full of adrenaline and actively feeding, who would have hit anything, I think.
Once again there was no good evening rise. I trolled back, but no fish were caught.
It was still a good trip--you know how that goes--but I was missing that pleasant sensation of feeling like I know what I'm doing.
The second trip was the next day. I had planned to go to the lake, but then things came up. It was a hectic day, and I had needed to completely unload the truck. When I finally had the chance to make a break for it time was short. I re-loaded the truck in a hurry. I got all the way to the lake before discovering I had forgotten one thing: my waders.
I considered going wet. If there had been more time I would have. But with the little time I had left I decided to go retro and fish from the bank. It took me back to my very first trips here some five years ago, pre-canoe and pre-float tube.
It's a different experience, and my feet at least ended up going wet.
I cast out as far as I could and stripped in a streamer. In the old days Browns would follow a streamer right to the bank, and sometimes take. Not this time. A few fish began rising at dusk, but they were just a little too far out for me to reach. So I fished for the little guys in the shallows. They'd hit the streamer but it was too big for them.
So I tied on a pheasant tail nymph I had tied up that morning just for those fish who were now rising beyond my reach. In previous trips those open water risers had ignored my dries, so I figured a nymph fished in the film might do the trick. Well, it worked on the little guys.
I tried the streamer again--think night-cruising Browns--and then a little Trico, hoping it might match the little dark caddis and the midges.
The only thing I caught was a wild grape out of the thicket behind me.