Thursday, April 17, 2014

Early Lake Report: On A Mission

When you get up it looks like it might clear off. You throw the tube in the pickup, work until Noon, and head for Early Lake.

The wind is blowing hard from the Northeast, with a cold edge to it. You shoulder into it and go to work.

You strip a shiny, green-bodied muddler through the chop and soon pick up the first fish.

You slide him onto the stringer.

You're on a mission. An elderly couple with a taste for trout has asked if you would bring them some, now, in the spring, when they're cold and firm and tasty. They feel bad asking; they know you're catch and release. But you feel good saying yes.

The muddler is getting the job done. The trout are indeed cold and firm--and pan-sized.

A pair of Red-Necked Grebes has been making big, noisy circles around you. Every Spring one shows up all alone and wails piteously waiting for its mate. When the mate finally arrives they both wail joyfully at being together.

You finally catch their raucous calls on video. You're amused to read in Peterson's Field Guide to Western Birds that when not on their nesting grounds they are "usually silent."

The wind isn't slowing down. It's turning out to be one of those March days you get in April.

The swallows appear to be enjoying the wind, and you enjoy watching them master it.

You pick up the fourth fish.

As you net the little Rainbow and get it onto the stringer the wind blows the tube over the fly line and it snags on something under the seat. You don't really need a break, but you need to get the line loose. So you take a break.

You look for Bighorn Sheep; some years they have come down to the water's edge here.

Back at the tube the midges are swarming. You're amazed to think that the swallows can track these diminutive insects in a stiff wind.

You saddle up and kick back out. One more fish to go.

You decide to try a little bead head woolly bugger. You troll it and strip it. It gets some bumps and follows, but no hookups.

So you tie on another muddler. A couple of casts and you've got your fish, and your limit.

You seek out a sheltered spot under the willows and clean the trout while sitting in the tube.

You kick out, pack up, and hand the trout to your friends at their kitchen door.

They're happy. You're happy.

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