Wild lupine is spreading over the hillsides.
Cottonwoods are seeding. You're still in May, but the natural world is already in June.
It's a Friday, and the lake is more crowded than you have ever seen it. The south end is wall to wall boats and pontoons, so you've come to the north end. It's busy here, too. You have to wait for opportune moments to take photos that make it look like you're the only one here. There are at least four other watercraft outside of frame to the right, and three more behind you.
You've come around to the inlet working the shoreline with a Damselator. There have been surreptitious rises close up against the willows, and you suspect that fish are plucking damselflies, but you can't get a take.
You turn back to re-position yourself for another foray along the shoreline, and pull a scud behind you on the way. Halfway back a very nice Rainbow takes it.
You get back to the north shore and get ready to work back along the west shoreline. Time to tie on today's muddler, red version.
Swallows swoop overhead. A courting pair watches you go by. The campground on this side is getting noisy. Target practice, and some whooping and loud laughter. You think the beer cans are probably beginning to pile up.
You come around to a little bay. All the other watercraft are out in open water. They're talking to each other when they pass, and two--husband and wife--are talking back and forth on radios. You're talking to the swallows, to the muddler, to the fish, and to yourself.
You flip the red muddler in to the shoreline, glance away, and a little Brown grabs it before you can begin to strip.
Just how you like to see your new flies displayed.
You keep working the bay shoreline and, on a fast strip, a nice Rainbow somersaults on the fly. It's an 18 incher, and it gives an all-out effort to get away. Sometimes the 22 inchers are all weight and little fight, but a hot 18 incher will show you tricks you've never seen before. The last fish that spooled you was an 18 incher.
You finally bring this one to the net. You take extra time to make sure it's fully revived, and release it with appreciation.
You start across to the other side. There should be a stoplight out in the middle of the lake to control the traffic, but you make it.
You love this stretch of shoreline, and work it carefully with the red muddler, but it hasn't come into its own yet. This is a Brown Drake bank, and when they come, the fish will come. (You better keep an eye out; those Drakes might come early like everything else.)
By the time you get near the takeout the cottonwood snow is drifting over the water again.
Road dust and campfire smoke hang in the still air, and there's a low rumble of voices, punctuated by shouts and laughter, coming across the water from the campgrounds ringing the lake.
It was a good trip in spite of the crowds. You slip away unnoticed, happy with red muddlers and blue lupines.