Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Trout Lake Report: That Next Fish

It will be the last Friday at the lake for awhile. I wish I could have had more time, but I was taking advantage of a two-hour window.

I launched on the south end. It had rained earlier in the day, and was trying to decide whether to clear up or rain some more.

It was warmer than predicted, and calm as could be.

I was fishing muddler No. 5. I kicked across the lake to this little bend in the shoreline by the beaver grove. This is a prime location throughout the season, high water or low. I've had good luck here this week, shallow as it is, catching the first brown of the week, and that amazing tiger trout, right off the waterline.

This time I dropped the fly in and, sure enough, here came another wake. Once again, there was a swirl under the fly, and I raised up--and missed. I felt the hook scrape out of the fish's mouth. I went right back, and got a follow, but that was it. So it goes. 

I started down the shoreline. The fishing itself was enjoyable, as it has been all week. I will miss that absorbing process of carefully breaking down a shoreline with delicately probing casts.

A chilly wind had picked up from the north, and conditions for catching seemed to be moving rapidly from favorable to questionable.

Then, luckily, at the far south end, right up at the waterline, I did what you have to do in a situation like that: I found a brown. Nothing delicate about this guy; he walloped the fly as soon as it hit the water.

I looked for more, but that would be it for this day.

That was OK. I was cold, my time was up, and I still had one more day to come back and catch that next fish.

Fly Tying: Final Offerings 5

Floatability. The fifth of the last flies of the season for the last week of the season.

Trout Lake Report: The Secret of Life

Another good trip to add to all the others this lake has so freely given.

It was another day of glorious Fall prospects in every direction. I launched at the channel again. I wanted to make one more visit to the fabled Drake Bank.

On went muddler No. 4, and I started working my way down the long shoreline.

There were no signs of fish, and I didn't move anything. Plenty of time to enjoy the beauty all around me while I got into the rhythm of casting.

Then I arrived at this nondescript stretch of shoreline. No rises, no wakes, no sign of life. I made the next cast in my rhythm tight to the bank--nothing--stripped in, made the next cast five feet ahead of the last one...and this time a head came up and engulfed the fly. Just like that. I said out loud, "You just have to find a brown." That, I have decided, is the secret of life.

And it was indeed a lovely brown, as I knew it would be.

I released it, and cast right back to the bank again. The fly landed with a splat and a big head came up and engulfed it. I couldn't believe my eyes. A second brown.

If there were two, there might be three. I cast back and got a swirl. I started stripping like crazy and got a take. A third brown.

It couldn't happen again, could it? Yes, it could.

Four browns from the same short stretch of bank. That has never happened to me before. What other surprises does this lake have up its sleeve?

I was hesitant to leave that stretch of shoreline, but I saw a fish working back a ways in water I had already fished. I kicked back and gave it a shot. This was a hot fish, moving back and forth and taking whatever it could find. It took a few casts, but I finally put the fly in its path, and it took without hesitation. I thought it might be another brown, but it was a nice fat rainbow.

Time to keep moving. I hurried down the shoreline.

And here I was in Drake waters. Ah, the memories.

There were some rainbows coming up. They were spooky, but I enticed a couple of them to take the muddler. This is big fly water, after all; I wonder if they were remembering those big Drakes, too.

Dusk began to settle in, so I started back toward the take out. I was drifting the fly behind me when I saw a rise up against the bank, so I stopped and cast to the rise. I let the fly sit and drift in the breeze...and got a take. Another brown.

I kept going. It's a long kick along this shoreline, and by the time I got back it would be time to go. I had gotten to the lake a little earlier than usual. I enjoyed more time to fish, but the extra time in the water had turned my feet numb. I was ready to crank up the heater in the truck. The cold is coming.

Just before I kicked into the shallows where I would beach the float tube, I made one more cast along the edge of the weeds. The fly was pretty beat up--I had to false cast it awhile to get it to float. But once I had it floating, up came another head--not so big this time--and took the fly. A brown period on a brown afternoon.

Two days to go.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fly Tying: Final Offerings 4

More buggy? The fourth of the last flies of the season for the last week of the season.

Trout Lake Report: A Brown To Warm Your Heart

The day is rainy and cool. I get away as soon as I can but I only have a couple of hours to fish.

The north lake campground is deserted so I launch from there. I tie on muddler No. 3. The rain quits for now.

I turn my back on the south lake this time...

...and head north.

The lake is very quiet. I haven't seen a rise yet. I'm casting into the pocket water in the remaining weed beds. I'm stripping when, out of nowhere, a hit. The fish jumps--I can see it's a nice brown--then jumps again, and again, and again. When it comes down the fourth time it's off the fly and gone. Wow. All I can do is shake my head.

I'm disappointed but encouraged. I keep heading north, fishing the pocket water.

I go a long way without moving a single fish.

I turn and begin to make my way back south. I'm thinking the channel might be a good place to explore.

I keep on casting and stripping.

Then, on the strip, a hit. There's no way to tell for sure, but my first thought--and my fondest wish--is that I've come back and hooked that leaping brown again. This time it doesn't jump, and I get it into the net. Whether I've seen it before or not, it's a brown to warm your heart on a chilly day.

I go to the channel and poke around. I raise two rainbows, but they don't commit. I see an eagle rise out of the shadow of the ridge, and a second follows. It's the resident pair. They fly down into a tall tree and call back and forth, their cries echoing off the rock face.

I'd forgotten how fast it gets dark when it's overcast. I head back to the truck, pack up in the dark and start for home through a light rain.

Three days left.