One for the Books

I have to admit, the thought of lake fishing for trout sounded extremely dull to me a few months ago. I pictured myself puttering around in a float tube, nymphing frigid waters and bringing up the occasional, lethargic lake trout from the depths. How lackluster to say the least.
Thelma, however, returned recently from a lake outing with Mr. Skittles raving about this hex hatch happening just north of us. I was skeptical but curious. Steel-header Kirsten and I joined Thelma, Mr. Skittles, and Stig the following weekend to investigate for ourselves. At dusk, the bite went off and we found ourselves surrounded by surfacing trout. With so many targets it was hard to choose where to cast as if we were in the arcade “whack-a-mole” game. We caught some and missed others and it was over almost as soon as it began. I was now a reformed believer in lake fishing. But this story isn’t about that lake and the Hex hatch.
Mr. Skittles let me in on a secret, one that was passed on to him by shop patron Mr. O. There exists a legendary lake, a lake where dreams come true and whose existence is known to only a handful of fly anglers. Mr. Skittles had that wild look and Grinch-like smile again as he spoke of the dozens of fish that could be yours for the taking and I was in!
Mr. Skittles, Kevin and I met Sunday and drove to an undisclosed location north of the shop where we rendezvoused with Mr. O. Thelma made a surprise appearance with Small D.O.G and her beau in tow. Fishing hoppers was our planned strategy for the day. Upon arrival, we noticed an abundance of moths (Western tent caterpillar as tentative ID) and damselflies along the edges of the lake. We began fishing over submerged grass beds. It wasn’t long before I had my first fish on and it was big, so big it snapped my fly off. Dang it. Now Mr. Skittles is questioning my knot-tying ability. A few more casts and bam, a nice rainbow. “Now the stink is off you,” quipped Mr. Skittles. Next, we headed to the island where “George” resides; George is Mr. Skittle’s own version of Catfish Hunter of Grumpier Old Men fame. More fish were quickly picked up but George remained elusive. We continued down the edge of the lake targeting structure and damselfly socials, trout committing smash and grabs of our hoppers all the way. I believe we caught 30 rainbows averaging 15 inches before lunch. I even started referring to those as little! Then things started to get really crazy. We notice larger trout leaping onto the bank, snatching damsels off vegetation. I put on a damsel even though Mr. Skittles admitted to never catching anything on them. A few casts in and bam we were hooked up on one of many doubles for the day. Mr. Skittles shrieked excitedly when my fish surfaced, a West Slope Cutthroat, the biggest he has seen in this lake! His rainbow was no slouch either at eighteen inches! Mr. O paddled, remarked on our revelry heard all over the lake, and admitted he needed to head home. He stated he had heard things really heat up in the evening hours. Man, did Mr. O pick the wrong time to leave? With the sun starting its descent the moth activity picked up with scores falling from overhanging limbs to the water and their eventual demise below. The lake soon looked as if it was boiling and fish began launching out of the water around us. We continued down the lake making pit stops to rising fishing, doubling up, fist-bumping and giggling like we belonged in an insane asylum as they crushed our tattered hoppers! It was ridiculous how good the fishing was. Leaving that lake was incredibly hard to do! I have been fishing since I was a toddler and this day, lake fishing for trout with Mr. Skittles, will likely go down as one of if no the best. Thank you Mr. Skittles and Mr. O for giving me a day for the books and one I will cherish always! 

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