Thursday, October 17, 2013

Trout Lake Report: Finding October

October is getting away from you. You have to get away to find October. You slip away on a sunny afternoon and kick out at the north end.

You drift slowly around the shoreline. The change of season shimmers all around you.

On the other side you cast into a shallow reed line deep in the shadows of the trees. There is an instant take. It's a big rainbow, and the weight of it takes you by surprise. It rolls and thrashes as you bring it to net. It's cold and hard and strong in your hand, and escapes with a burst of speed as you release it.

You drift on. You cast to a rise and a small brown chases down the fly. This fish, too, is gone in a flash as you turn it out of the net.

You keep going.

An otter comes out of a backwater and spots you. He is intensely curious, and keeps popping up to get a closer look at you. Another joins the first, and the two of them follow you for awhile, weaving in and out of the shoreline willows gazing at you with big black eyes.

You drift on farther and farther.

You get all the way over to the far shoreline in the shadow of the mountain, the place where the brown drakes hatch in the spring, what you consider to be the very heart of the lake. The evening is still except for a deer huffing at your scent somewhere off in the trees.

You come to the little bay where the drakes whirl and swirl. You have been working the shoreline with the fly, remembering other days and other fish. You're ready to turn around and head back when you remember the small boulder that rests along the shoreline. You found more than one fish there in the drake days, including some browns. So you take one more cast.

The fly disappears in a swirl and you come up on a heavy fish. It goes deep and shakes ponderously from side to side. You have to muscle it up to get a look at it. It's a big brown. You carefully bring it in, and then it takes three tries to lead it into the net.

It's a gorgeous fish, pushing twenty, big and girthy. You want to congratulate yourself, but then you look at the hookset and realize you could just as well have lost it. You are humbled, and you are filled with gratitude for what has happened.

For you have found October.


  1. Nice day on the lake. That big brown makes the day that much more special.