Fishing in February. The promised sunshine does not materialize, but temps are in the high 40's.
Fish are moving, so your already high expectations ratchet up another notch. You go to the Lady McConnell and cast her adrift. You let her ride high down the slow current for a long way. She is ignored. So you cast her out again and give her a seductive wiggle. She is accosted. It always feels good to tie a fly and see it end up in a trout's jaw.
As always, you think you've maybe figured something out, so you try it again--and get nothing. You try the new stimulator. You try other dries. You fish for a long time and still get nothing.
The fish, though, are still moving. They're taking things off the top. You actually see some scattered callibaetis drift by. You see a few little baetis, too. You try the appropriate flies. Nothing. You decide the Rocky Ford Rainbows can be finicky after all.
You go with an indicator. The usual suspects--blood midge, san juan worm, even scuds--get nary a bump. You hang a big fuzzy nymph under the indicator and give it some action. Finally, a good take. This trout is angry at being fooled. He takes out his anger in a series of manic jumps. He's beautiful. You like him.
You keep at it with the indicator--unsuccessfully. You tell this nosy bird there's only room for one old coot around here.
You go back to dries. You find a little brown stimulator and cast it downstream and strip it back against the current with a tantalizing wake. You get some bumps, and at last a take. Another jumper.
You try it some more but no one else wants a little brown stimulator. Fish are still moving. There are some working between you and that little cattail island. You show them every fly you can think of, but they eschew them all.
Evening is falling. You decide it's mouse time.
You work that mouse methodically. Every ten minutes or so you get a follow or a curiosity bump. You keep at it.
It's almost full dark. You can barely see the mouse's wake. You cast it out past that cattail island and start to strip it back. Geese come off the water upstream and rush by overhead. You pause to take one more photo.
You tuck the camera back in your jacket pocket and begin to strip the mouse again. You don't hear anything, you don't see anything. You just strip once and try to strip again and the line's stuck. You think you're tangled in the cattails.
Then the fish takes off. It feels like a good one. Your adrenaline explodes and your heart soars.
Then the fish comes off. The adrenaline rush fizzles and your shoulders sag. You're left in the dark wondering what the hell happened this time. You had him. You set hard to make sure the hook went deep. He was right there....
Nothing to do but go home and wait for the next time.