Where does a season go? Where did summer go? What happened? I think back to all the plans I'd had for this year. I did manage to reach some goals, certainly had a lot of firsts and personal bests this year, so I guess I can't complain. But where did the trout season go? How did the entire thing transpire, so that now I'm blowing off work, to squeeze in a couple of hours on my favorite water ahead of the gale? A lot has happened. Goodness it was a busy year. I accomplished a lot. I fished for smallmouth and carp on the fly for the first time, successfully I might add. I caught my personal best brown and brookies. I got to try new gear, and added a new rod to the quiver. I finally got what resembles a double-haul down.
|dubious record- small fish of the year?|
There's a lot I didn't do. I never did make it down to my favorite stretch of the Manistee to hopper fish. I didn't get to try any of the UP water I had wanted to get to. I didn't night fish enough. I know you won't feel sorry for me, but it feels like I didn't get to fish enough period, like I I let the whole thing get away, a summer squandered.
I wade up past the first bend to the first spot that usually holds a couple of fish. I'm using an olive stimulator. On the second cast a splashy take announces the first fish of the day. These brook trout are feeding heavily now, trying to bulk up ahead of the November spawning season. I bring this fish in, it's colors flashing fluorescent orange off-set by black and deep green. Two casts later another rise, but within seconds the fish comes off. I pull in my line to find that my knot has come unraveled. That leaves four flies in the box. I tie on the other stimulator and keep fishing.
I won't bore you with every detail of the day. I caught a dozen or so fish, but it wasn't epic. I always see big fish in this stretch, but none show themselves this day. I don't land anything over ten inches. What the fish lack in size and numbers they make up for in color and attitude, slashing at my flies, jumping when hooked and flashing those amazing colors. A couple of the fish look ordinary, but most are painted up better than any artist could. Some are so black and orange they look fake. In another day they'll have the rest year off from bothersome fisherman, til next spring when this starts again. I can't complain really- there's still water that's open to fishing, the salmon runs are going strong, the steelhead fishing will just improve for the next couple of months, and stripping streamers for lake run browns is just heating up. But the last time that you're able to head to your favorite stream, catch these beautiful little jewels, stand alone in silence far out in the wild, fly rod in hand, knowing that another season has come and gone- it fills me with a sadness. It's not just this day, or even this season. It's the flowing of time, the knowledge that it won't stop for anything. It's a sense of loss, another season gone. I have good memories, but large parts of it are blank, and I'm struggling to remember what happened. Did I fish at all in July?
|raining on my parade|
|this guy took the color prize|