The heat is back. It feels good to leave the jacket in the truck. A hot wind blows, but you know what to do. It has become one of your favorite things. You work your way around the north shoreline with a muddler.
You miss the take of a little Brown in a backwater leaping out of the water to take damselflies off the reeds. You feel affirmed by the take.
You make the turn at the far north end. There's a great commotion in the middle of the lake. Something has sent a mother duck and her ducklings scattering in peeping fright. It looks at first like another duck, but you look again and hope it's what you think it is. Then it calls and warbles. A Loon, the first you've seen at the lake this season.
You start down the west side. An Osprey comes in at 12 o'clock high. Suddenly an Eagle swoops in to intercept him. There's a great whoosh of wings as they flash their talons at each other. The Osprey turns and heads back the way he came from; the Eagle climbs and soars high over his domain.
You reach the intake channel. You throw the muddler into the narrow opening between the willows. A fish swirls and misses. You put on the brakes, get positioned, and drop the fly in again.
This time you get him.
You see a rise inside the channel opening. So you get closer and go back to work.
You find two more fish willing to take the fly. You carefully release them back into the cold, deep channel. All around the water is shallow and silty and weedy. But not here.
You move on, probing all the backwaters and bays. You get in close and cast the muddler right into the reeds.
You find a big Brown--or he finds you. He pulls hard and churns through the weeds. Before you can congratulate yourself he rolls and the 4X tippet snaps. You will miss that muddler.
You have other muddlers, and tie another one on a fresh length of 4X. You go on, but after half an hour or so you're back. You work every inch of that backwater to see if you can find that Brown again. You can't. Not this time.
You move back toward the north end again. The wind has calmed, and you're hoping for an evening rise. You tie on the Carpet Caddis. It has had some remarkable times here.
The lake gets quiet. Too quiet. You range back and forth from the shallows to deep water.
After a long time you get a take between the reeds and the drop off. It's a good fish, and you feel grateful.
The lake gets even quieter. You have time to enjoy the beauty of the evening, and a campfire's sweet wood smoke.
Small fish begin rising here and there. You know they're small because you cast to them. You catch two little Browns. You figure it would take a good dozen of these at least to equal the Brown you lost.
You wait for other rises, but they don't come.
You search through a fly box in the pocket of the float tube and find a big black chenille fly with a big bushy black marabou tail. You cinch it on and begin to troll. Within seconds you get a big yank. The fish is strong and heavy, the best Rainbow of the day, and runs line off the reel three times before you get him in the net. You take a quick photo, release him, and begin the troll across the lake to the truck.
That Rainbow proves to be the last fish of the day. That's OK with you. He was a good fish to go out on.