It's a beautiful October day. The sun is warm and the breeze is cool. The water is cold and clear.
The road is busy. Hunters drive slowly up and down scanning the meadows and ridges. The short season is half over and they still haven't gotten their deer. There's a tinge of desperation in the air.
You have your old muddler on. It has been well-used on recent trips. The tail has been chewed off, but it still floats, and you like it. It is, as one of your commenters once said so well, like a favorite old pair of jeans.
You start up the shoreline and a good fish takes right off the rocks.
A ghostly brown, hard and cold and strong.
Then a nice rainbow, also quick to go.
You work on around the shoreline.
A baby brown goes for broke and takes a chance on what looks like a lot of meat for the money.
It's getting colder, and you zip your jacket up higher.
You're laying the fly into skinny water between the shoreline and weed beds when you get another take. The fish thrashes and yellow flashes. A good brown. You try to keep his head up but he gets into the weeds. The weeds have turned over on themselves in the low water, and wrapped around themselves in tight tangles. The brown is all knotted up. You try finesse, then brute force. The knot of weeds is too much for the knot on your 4X, and fish and fly are gone. You're going to miss that muddler.
You have more, and tie one on. There's a rainbow on the outside edge of the weeds and he takes in a blue flash. He's a jumper; three times he comes straight up out of the water, three, maybe four feet high. He hangs in the air in the soft evening light.
The day is going, and cold is settling down. You start the kick back and drift the muddler behind you. You hook up three times, and all three fish leap off the hook. No time for imitations.
You find yourself shivering as you stow your gear, and you fire up the truck and crank up the heater. And as you drive down the road past the hunters' camps, and think about the precious few days left in the season, and wonder how soon you'll be able to get back to the lake, you feel it. Just a tinge of desperation.