Circumstances allow you to get to the lake much earlier than usual. It will be a full 8 hours on the water. You haven't done that for awhile. You think you can handle it.
You launch at the north end. You like it here.
You've tied up a quasi-hopper especially for the day.
You work the shoreline through the wind and waves.
The hopper claims its first victim.
Storm clouds are building in the west.
You think the storm will slip off to the north and miss you.
Over by the inlet you find lots of eager fish. They're small, but they nail that hopper.
Where you usually kick across the lake to the other side, you keep on going. You plan to explore the entire west bank.
That first storm may be slipping off to the north, but it looks like another one may be hard on its heels.
You decide to put your jacket on, just in case.
Five minutes later you hear the rumble of thunder and the first raindrops begin to fall.
You've been drifting a muddler behind you, and a nice Rainbow tries to make off with it. It's a treat to net a fish like this.
The rain is coming down harder, and the thunder is getting closer--which means the lightning is, too.
You come up on a little shooting stand. You've passed this thing by for years. Today you decide to shelter in it while the lightning passes over.
It's a perfect retreat. You break out the thermos, pour yourself a cup of hot coffee, and kick back.
The sun breaks through the clouds briefly. The rain slows. The thunder grumbles into the distance. Time to go.
Two minutes later another storm rolls over the ridge and begins to dump its rain on you.
A new round of lightning and thunder begins. You pull over and wait it out. When the lightning has moved on you do the same.
You fish all the way down to the Drake tree, then turn and begin to work your way back.
The wind backs off and the lake begins to settle down. Scattered rises begin to bloom out in open water.
There are lots of bugs.
You kick out into open water and drift the muddler through the riffles. You get a bump, a swirl, and then a hook up.
You make your way back toward the inlet. It looks like the storms are over.
As has become your habit, you first explore the willows on either side of the inlet before casting into the inlet channel. On the second cast something jumps the muddler as soon as it lands. You raise up, expecting another fingerling, and feel weight, blessed weight. Then a wonderful, jerky pull. It's a good fish at last. No, not a Brown. A Tiger. Beauty.
The primal order is restored. The cosmos is once more aligned.
You wonder what other surprises might be in store for you. You find two more beautiful little Rainbows.
In the twilight, you kick slowly across open water toward the take out area.
The wind finally backs off for good, and the water calms. You see fish rising just off the take out. You tie on some 5X and begin casting a little caddis. It's just you and the bats.
And a photobombing fish.
When it's too dark to see the fly, you make one more cast and begin stripping in. You get a grab. You think it's a little fish, but it suddenly pulls hard--real hard--and is gone. Just like that. That's one for another day.
On the drive home you round a bend, and there's the full moon right in front of you. When you get home you get the good camera and the tripod and get a shot.
The July full moon is the Buck Moon. Most people who know that are probably thinking about buck deer. You're thinking about that big, beautiful buck Tiger.