Another hot day. The lake calls.
You work the north end shorelines again.
You start with a damsel dry but find no fish targeting them.
Over by the inlet you switch to a muddler.
You wake up some fish with it.
You cross back over and work the shoreline there.
Things are still slow along this stretch, until you get to a landmark log. When you first started fishing this lake the log was still a tall tree. Now it's one of your regular casting zones.
You put the fly right next to the log. You're looking at the fly when it just disappears. No splash, no ripple, no dimple, no sign of a take at all. It's just gone.
So of course you set, and come up on a fine, husky rainbow who gives you a run for your money.
On down the shoreline, but no more fish except small fry.
So you work on around to the other side again. Ducklings panic and scatter at your approach, then are reunited with their mama.
You work inside the reeds along the willows.
You pass a red-winged blackbird nest that you've left alone before. Today you reach up with the camera to see what's inside.
They knew you were there before you knew they were there.
You keep working the reeds. You find a fish on the edge.
You get back to the inlet. There are some small fish holding just outside the mouth. You get several hits and misses before you manage to hook one.
While you're doing that, a good-sized brown launches himself out of the water inside the inlet and flies into the willows with a big commotion. So you sneak up and go for him.
You get a hit, and your heart stops for a minute, but it's a false alarm.
You keep looking, but that's it. If that brown is still in there, he's not coming for your muddler. You're glad he was there, though. This has been a brown hangout in years past, and maybe they're finding their way back again. You'll get him next time--and all his friends.
You move on up the shoreline away from the inlet.
You get to a favorite spot. You just worked it over a couple of hours ago, but it's dusk now, the time when big fish look for big flies.
You cast methodically along the willow edge until that magic moment when the fly hits and a fish is instantly on it. You know right away it's a good fish. You raise the rod high and strip like mad, and manage to keep him out of the weeds. But he fights hard, and your wrist is tired by the time you get his head up. Usually fish settle down when they find themselves gazing into a foreign environment. This fish fights all the harder. By the time you get him in the net you're soaked from the water splashed up by his churning tail.
But that's OK.
You catch a few more rainbows after that, but they don't seem to count. You kick back across to the truck. There's a half moon rising, but that, you think to yourself, was a full brown.