Friday, August 31, 2012

Trout Lake Report: Good Bye, August

One more turn before August fades away for another year. It's warm, but there's a feeling in the air. The breeze out of the south has less conviction now.

You give the muddlers a break. They are looking well-worn, a happy state of affairs. You want to see what a stimulator will do. You tie on a beauty, all black and grizzly and natural deer hair. You get a hit on your first cast as you kick through the weeds at the put in. You miss him. Further out you cast back to the edge of the weed bed and a fish takes, churns, and breaks you off. You check: the knot failed. You'll miss that stimulator.

The truth is you're getting low on stimulators. You find one that's one of those flies you look at and think, "Now why in the world did I tie that?" But it makes you curious about what the fish will think. You tie it on.

They like it. It's big, it's meaty-looking, and, who knows, maybe they like that color combination. You get two beauties on the strip.

You work it for awhile. There are fish out in open water, and they're picking up any morsel that strikes their fancy. You let that big stimulator drift with the breeze, and fish hit it. You get some hook ups, but they're short-lived. The fish simply explode when they feel that threat to their freedom. One fish tail walks six feet, and when he comes down he's thrown the hook. You are filled with admiration.

After awhile the lake calms. The fish turn a cold shoulder to the stimulator and begin to work on the midge hatch. So you do something you haven't done for awhile: you tie on a 5X tippet with a griffith's gnat on the end of it. It's a big griffith's gnat--probably a 16--but it's the smallest fly you've had on for some time. On the first cast a fish is all over it the instant it hits the water.

You drift and cast and look for rises and cast again. Sometimes you just drift and forget to cast.

Once in awhile you get a hit. And once you get another hook up.

You watch the day fading into night. It's cool now, and you roll your shirtsleeves down, and you know you're watching summer fade away, too. You'll make the most of it before it's completely gone. But the balance has tipped.

So, good bye, August. See you again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trout Lake Report: The Turn

The heat is back, and a gusty hat-stealing wind out of the south. You launch at the south end and kick over to the relative shelter of the trees. You throw out a muddler and it begins. The fish are up and they're hungry, and they fall for the muddler time and time again--sitting still, stripped, and drifted behind the tube as you kick along. You cover much of the south lake from early evening until well after moonrise, and the fish are always there. It feels like the turn has begun, that turn from the sluggish dog days of summer to the hungry days of fall.