I headed back to the lake to try out muddler variation No. 2. It was another gorgeous October afternoon, and I wasn't the only one taking advantage of it.
I launched in the channel this time.
I worked one of my favorite shorelines with the new muddler. I didn't have the immediate success of the last trip. In fact I had two nose-bump refusals right off the bat. That could be the fly, or it could be a complex combination of a multitude of esoteric factors keeping the fish down. I kept plugging away.
I had this feeling that it was some fussy rainbows refusing the fly, but I didn't want to leap to conclusions. Then I dropped the fly at the waterline and had an immediate, no nonsense grab. Sure enough, it was a brown. I leaped to conclusions about those rainbows. I just can't picture a brown sniffing at a fly and turning up its nose at it. Seems like a brown will either hit the fly or totally ignore it.
Then again, when I brought this brown in, he was hooked in the tail. How did that happen? Maybe he had swirled at the fly and refused it. Or maybe he had hit the fly to stun it--it was definitely a hit, not a sniff. Or maybe, when he had swam right at me, and was on a slack line for a couple of seconds, he slipped the hook, and then was re-hooked when I regained control of the line. I don't know; but I was glad to have him in the net.
I came to the place where I usually turn away from the shoreline and cross the lake to the other side. This time I kept on going all the way down to the south end. Since the fishing had been slow I wanted to see if things might be better down there. I focused on the same place I had caught that first brown on the last trip.
It was like deja vu all over again. I dropped the fly in close, and a wake started right for it from five feet away. I held my breath. The wake stopped under the fly and there was a swirl and a take. I wondered if it was the same brown as last time. Then I saw the fish roll. This was something different: a tiger, all dressed up in his fall colors. I celebrated with a few extra photos.
That was nice. I continued to fish around the south end, but I didn't find any more browns--or tigers.
As dusk was deepening, I began the long kick back to the truck. I drifted the fly behind me. and right away caught a rainbow.
I caught a few more rainbows before I got to the takeout. It was dark by the time I was packed up and ready to go. As I drove home I watched the full moon rise through the clouds and thought about muddler No. 2.
Even though the fishing had been slow, and the fly had gotten some refusals, it still managed a slam: three different species of trout. I'd call that a success.