In short order, you get another hard pull. This time it's a Brown. An exceptionally beautiful Brown.
You make the turn out of the channel into the north lake and head down the long shoreline that leads to Drake Central. You're in no hurry, and you comb the water's edge carefully with the muddler.
And there are good fish eager to hit it.
You know this shoreline well, and you visit each good and proven lie like an old and trusted friend.
And they don't fail you.
You reach the Drake stretch. Conditions are perfect, except you don't see any Drakes. You spend a few moments searching the water and the sky and catch a glimpse of just a few.
But this is why you have come. You knot on your new Drake tie and grease it up.
A few casts and you drop it right over this Brown. He smacks it instantly.
You move on around casting mainly up along the shoreline, and more fish put their stamp of approval on the new Drake fly.
You get to the far shore where the swallows have their summer homes and turn and begin to work your way back.
You find fish. You miss a few splashy takes. And once a good fish takes you into the weeds. That's the first time that's happened this season. It won't be the last.
The day begins to wane, and a few brief showers sweep across the lake.
The Drakes haven't come, not as they have in the past. You will need to think that over to decide whether the hatch is on the ebb, or hasn't really begun yet.
But even without a heavy hatch, you find fish. Now, working slowly back the way you came, you coax them out of the shadows under the willows with twitches and slow, steady strips. This will be one of those rare days when you catch more than anyone deserves.
By the time you make the turn into the channel the light is going fast. You find a few pods of small fish rising out in open water, and you hang out awhile with them until dark, showing them the big Drake and getting a splash or a brief tug now and then.
You're sad. You don't want the day to end.