Watching, Waiting, Hoping......
Watching, waiting, hoping. That's what I've been doing for the last month or so. A few bugs, drifting aimlessly on the surface of the water would make my day. Patience is a necessity. At the mercy of bugs with no schedule, I'm on Baetis standard time, whatever that is. So, I wait.
The days start earlier now, last longer too. It makes no difference to the bugs, or the fish. I leave home earlier, thinking maybe, just maybe this will be the day. A fish feeding frenzy, right from the get go. Heaven forbid I should miss it. No worries, I don't. Nothing doing. All quiet on the stream front.
But there is activity. Rainbows are in the creek now. They chase each other, jockeying for position on the gravels. Across the creek, a fisherman ambles through the grass, working upstream, alternately in and out of the water. It's a mink. Stealthy. Doesn't seem to bother the spawning rainbows. They continue their business, the mink continues hiking and swimming upstream.
It's a gray morning. Perfect supposedly. Little wind. Bird sounds along the creek. Robins, ducks, geese. Meanwhile, the valley is greening up, the snowline is retreating up the mountain slopes. The Absarokas look cold though. Camping season is still a ways off.
I take a walk, find feathers. Mr robin should have been looking over his shoulder when he was singing. I ponder the wing feathers and pocket a few for potential fly tying material.
Around ten, a few rises. They eat the midge. A few eat the parachute too. Mostly smaller fish, ten, twelve inches.
A short cast to a barely perceptible dimple. Probably just a little one I think. Stung by the hook, the fish promptly liberates forty feet of line. I get it back. We negotiate the last fourteen feet of leader. The fish gives a little, I give some back. The negotiations continue. We compromise. A couple of leader knots bink through the rod tip and I slide the net under the parachute eating brown.
"Well now, you sly dog (or should I say, fish?), trying to imitate a little one, just to go unnoticed."
I move on. Around noon, more rises. Enthusiastic this time. Somethings got their attention. A few errant blue winged olives drift by. I switch to a comparadun, run an emerger off the back. Its not a big hatch, but a few fish dine on my offerings.
I watch a substantial brown at work. Tough spot. I cast, get a short drift. No dice. I don't want to wade in behind it for fear of spooking other nearer rising fish. A downstream drift is out too. I ponder his location, and file it away as a presentation challenge to be solved later. Meanwhile, closer rises keep me busy, ten, fifteen feet. Nice fish all. Browns and rainbows. I expect the browns, the rainbows are a bit of a surprise. A few come to net. Beat up, chewed up, maybe these active surface feeders have completed spawning.
The fish knock off around 1:30. Me too. Lunchtime.
I let an hour slip away. Satoshi wanders by. We visit. Compare notes. Do a little plotting and scheming. Soon its late afternoon.
One more walkabout just to see if anything is happening. It's breezy. If there are any bugs, they've been blown off the water. No matter, it's been a productive day.
Its nearly spring. The fish are starting to look up. We're on the cusp of another season of dries.