Friday, July 20, 2012

Trout Lake Report: Feeling Long Overdue

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.

It wasn't what I had expected to be doing, but it wasn't a bad way to spend an evening. Still, I was feeling more than ever that a good day at the lake was long overdue.


  1. "the pleasant sensation of feeling like I know what I'm doing" I hear you. A goal,as elusive as it seems to be sometimes, I think, that it makes things so worthwhile. The journey, so many parts to it. Wonderful photography as usual. Love the trico and the grape.

    1. Thanks, Scott. Yeah, it's all the journey. I have already been amazed this season to think how different it has been than last season. New ground. Also, "the trico and the grape," a phrase you never thought you'd hear.

  2. There are times when I would have settled for a wild grape instead of trying to find my fly in the bush or tree behind me.


    1. Mark, you nailed it. I considered myself very fortunate to have perfectly impaled the grape.