You tied up some Brown Drakes last night for the first trip of June. As sometimes happens, in the morning you don't like them. You bring them along anyway. You're curious what the fish will think of them.
There's another prescribed burn on the way into the lake.
The day has been hot and calm--until now. Some clouds roll in and a stiff wind pushes in from the north. You look down the wave-beaten Drake stretch and decide to postpone the quest for Drakes.
You turn around and slide into some partially sheltered water in the channel. You start working a muddler up against the shoreline.
You come around to John's Cove, where the shoreline curves into a big bend. You haven't moved anything yet, but you're remembering other days and the fish you caught here. You cast and look away for a moment. When you look back the fly is gone. You tighten up and come up on a heavy fish. You always wonder who's more surprised in moments like these, you or the fish.
It's a nice solid Brown. You are grateful for this act of grace, and promise to pay more attention.
You wander over to the north shore of the south lake. The burn is still hot.
You fish the length of the shoreline and find a few fish working the willow verge. Like the Brown, this one took as soon as the fly landed, quickly and efficiently.
You come out at the channel again. The clouds have shifted and the last of the sun is lighting up the ridgeline. The wind seems to be moderating.
So you kick back through the channel, past the truck, and try to make time down the shoreline that will take you to the Drakes.
You can't resist casting the muddler along the way, and some fish still want it.
You get to a little grassy bay. It's a good fish-holding area, and a good place to see Drakes. And you do. Not as heavy as the last time you were here, but they're in evidence. You watch one pop out of the water, and immediately a little trout leaps out of the water after it. You begin to see swirls, and even noses, as fish intercept the big bugs before they can clear the surface. There's a lot of activity going on down there.
You tie on one of your Drakes, grease it up, and cast it out. It sits. Not the right spot. You cast it in closer. Nothing. You cast it right up against the grass. Bingo. A fish grabs it before it can get away.
The majority of the action appears to be under the surface. But you catch some more fish as you start to kick slowly back toward the truck, all entertaining takes as noses rise up to suck in the fly as it drags away from the willows. You also see some fish with "Drake Fever." They whack the fly, making great splashes, and completely miss.
You like the fly a little better. But you will tie up something different for the next trip.
Darkness begins to overtake you, so you tie on a bead head woolly bugger for the relaxed troll back to land.
While you're doing that you hear the unmistakable snuffling of otters, and three of them come up the shoreline past you. They are intensely curious, as always, and double back around and follow you for a ways. You try a flash photo and get only eyeshine.
You kick back toward the truck. Nothing comes to the woolly bugger. You look up and the crescent moon is snagged in the pines on the ridge. It flickers like a cold fire as you drift slowly into shore.