Another month has rolled by. You close out September with a trip to the lake.
On the way into the magic valley you notice a wisp of smoke high on a mountain. Still dry. Almost time for the fall rains to settle in.
You're drawn to the far north end again. You said a month ago that you were finished here, but you want to see what it looks like this late in the season.
A trout moves slowly away from the bank and into the weeds. Good to know there are still fish in this end.
You kick out and make your way across through the weeds that hang just below the surface. A swirling wind is blowing hard out of the north, It makes the dry leaves of the cottonwoods and willows rattle and roar. It has a cold edge to it, and you're layered up against the chill for the first time this fall.
The lake is way down. The inlet streams are still running, but they seem disconnected from the lake now.
You're still drawn to this section of shoreline. It's high and dry now, but this was a hangout for big Browns when three feet of water stretched beyond the trees. Now there isn't even three feet of water out here where there used to be ten. It's too shallow to get any closer in the float tube.
But there are fish in the weeds. You twitch a stimulator through them and get a hit.
You walk the tube out of the shallows and find the drop off.
The wind has backed off. You kick slowly along the margin of the weed beds, casting into openings in the weeds, or just letting the stimulator drift behind you.
You get some bumps, some swirls, and a few hookups.
One of those hookups dives into the weeds, and when you try to horse him out the fly breaks off. You tie on another stimulator and take up where you left off.
You get all the way to the far west end of the north lake and take a little break.
Then you kick across to the east side. You drift the stimulator behind you, but get only one half-hearted bump.
The wind is gusting again, but now it's at your back. You knot on a freshly-tied muddler variation and kick into the wind working the shoreline with the big fly. The shoreline drops off quickly all along here. It's a good place to still find some fish close to the bank.
You get a hit right away but miss it. You get another on down the shoreline and also miss it. They could have been very small Rainbows--or big, cautious Browns. You'll never know.
Then, in the twilight glow, you come to a featureless stretch of shoreline and see a rise two feet from the bank. You drop the muddler in there and let it sit for a beat, and a nice Rainbow takes it.
You go back in and get two more good Rainbows out of a ten-foot stretch of bank.
That's a good way to end the day. You're almost at the truck, it's almost dark, and you're ready to call it a day. And a month. Only one more month left in the season now.
You load up and climb into the truck and crank the motor and get the heater going. Then you start a CD, and glance at the clock.
Why is it that you're always surprised to see how early it's getting dark these days?