Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Trout Lake Report: Does One Brown Drake a Hatch Make?

You get to the lake for an evening outing. You want to go down the Drake Bank, but the channel access has campers in it. You launch at the far north end instead.

You have another muddler variation tied up for the occasion.

Off you go.

You cover some water before a little Rainbow can't resist.

You work up to the inlet.

You find two more Rainbows ready to dance.

You work around the corner, then tie on a woolly bugger for the troll back.

There's another little Rainbow down there.

You get back to the inlet and tie the muddler back on. You wonder if you can break the string of Rainbows.

You flip the muddler up toward the flow and a brown head rises up and takes it down. There we go.

You look for more but don't find any.

You aren't on the Drake Bank, but the next best thing is across the lake. You kick across to the east shoreline, the other bank that has yielded fine Drake hatches. You just want to take a look.

Twenty yards off the shoreline you see it: your first Drake of the season, big and beautiful.

You look for a hatch, on the water and in the air. You don't see any more bugs. You feel that even one Drake, though, warrants fishing a Drake. You look through all your fly boxes: no Drakes. The box with the Drakes in it is in the truck.

O ye of little faith, you will be unprepared when the day is upon you, and will verily be reduced to fishing a yellow Humpy.

It works! You cast the Humpy into the shoreline, and it elicits what you can only call a Drake take: a loud, splashy, smack of a take. Has this Rainbow already been snacking on the big bugs?

You work on down the shoreline with the Humpy.

Just when you begin to think it was a fluke, another Rainbow flips out of the water and belly flops on the fly. Has to be a Drake take.

It's early. This is a June event. But you conclude that the hatch is on. Too bad you'll be traveling again, and won't get back on the water for a whole week.

Go ahead and get started without me, you think, and get those fish really worked up, just in time for my return.

Monday, May 23, 2016

"6" by Gary Snyder

"Fresh Blackberries" by Jodi McKinney

“In that year, 1914, we lived on the farm
And the relatives lived with us.
A banner year for wild blackberries
Dad was crazy about wild blackberries
No berries like that now.
You know Kitsap County was logged before
The turn of the century—it was easiest of all,
Close to water, virgin timber,
When I was a kid walking about in the
Stumpland, wherever you’d go a skidroad
Puncheon, all overgrown.
We went up one like that, fighting our way through
To its end near the top of a hill:
For some reason wild blackberries
Grew best there. We took off one morning
Right after milking: rode the horses
To a valley we’d been to once before
Hunting berries, and hitched the horses.
About a quarter mile up the old road
We found the full ripe of berrytime—
And with only two pails—so we
Went back home, got Mother and Ruth,
And filled lots of pails. Mother sent letters
To all the relatives in Seattle:
Effie, Aunt Lucy, Bill Moore,
Forrest, Edna, six or eight, they all came
Out to the farm, and we didn’t take pails
Then: we took copper clothes-boilers,
Wash-tubs, buckets, and all went picking.
We were canning for three days.”

"6" by Gary Snyder from Myths and Texts. © New Directions, 1978.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trout Lake Report: A Very Good Brown Day

An entire afternoon and evening opens up. You take advantage of it.

It's a Friday, and there are campers, but the lake is much less crowded this time.

You cross the channel to John's Cove. There is a rise right up in the reed line. Another one just a few feet down the shore. You drop your fly in close and wait. The fish takes on the dead drift. A fresh little Rainbow.

You work on down the shoreline a few yards. You're stripping the fly back when it's ambushed by a streak of silver. Another Rainbow,

This is a good beginning. You keep it going. A few more yards along you drop the fly into a little pocket in the bank. It's shady in there. You let the fly sit. It suddenly disappears. Oh boy. A big old Brown.

And what is the fly working this magic? The blue muddler, restored and finally unleashed on the world. You aren't sure the fish are thinking "damsel" when they take it. But then again, who knows?The thing is, it's working.

You head on down the shoreline into the south lake. You get some swirls but no hookups. That's the way it works. You'll pass some fish, but you aren't looking for them. You're looking for that one fish that's been waiting all day just for a blue muddler. And it's there, just up ahead somewhere.

You cross over. You troll a bead head leech but get no hits.

You tie the blue muddler back on. Another little Rainbow begins the festivities.

You come to a bigger pocket in the bank. Out of the corner of your eye you see what looks like a rise in there. It's tight against the driftwood stacked up along the bank. It all says "Brown."

You start to kick into position to get your fly in there.You make one more cast outside the pocket and another Rainbow whacks it. You quickly deal with it.

You get back to that rise. You lay the fly in and let it sit. Not close enough. You strip it back out, on high alert--you never know--and make another cast.

This time it's right on the money. You let it sit. The riffles bump it up against the driftwood. You watch it. There's a little sip and it disappears. What do you know. It was a Brown.

Time to give the blue muddler a rest.

You tie on another muddler and continue on around the shoreline.

A shower sweeps across the lake. You switch to a green humpy for this stretch of shoreline.

You get to the channel and kick back across to John's Cove where you started. You wonder if there might be a little more magic left there.

There, right in the reed line, you see a rise. Like deja vu all over again. As before, there's another rise a few feet down the bank. And another further along. A fish is lazily cruising its territory. Experience has taught you that if you miss a fish going one way, just wait for it to turn around and come back.

You put the humpy right in the reeds. It slowly drifts out. Where's that fish? You pick it up and put it back in. It drifts maybe an inch before it's sipped under. Here it is. Another Brown.

You explore the rest of the Cove, but find nothing else working. You aren't ready to leave yet, so you kick out into the channel and tie on that bead head leech. You cast it out and start to troll.

You've gone about five feet when you get a heavy take. Can it be? One more nice Brown.

While you're releasing it the wind picks up. Looks like more rain is coming. You decide to call it a day. You kick into the take out.

On second thought, you decide to call it a good day. No, a very good day. No. How about a very good Brown day? Yeah, that's it.