On the fly: Green drake redux
August 5, 2010
BASALT – The green drake hatch had long migrated upriver by the time I returned to the Roaring Fork. That always happens.
Often, I miss the frenzy entirely, but sometimes, out of pure luck, I catch a night of trout, quite literally.
It was a memorable evening. Fat drakes enticed reckless gluttony, and I watched a trout leap from the current to grab my fly in midair as I pulled back for another cast. My wrist grew sore from fighting fish, I couldn’t resist telling an angling buddy later. Was that a month ago already? Summer passes by faster than the birds swooping through the swarming insects shimmering in the last rays of sunlight.
Two weeks later, all alone on the water, the caddis fly low like squadrons on patrol. Knee deep in water and a little deeper in thought, my line jerks taut and slices through the shallows with an audible zing. Finally. The brown charges for the swift water again and again before I finally haul him within arm’s length and slip the net beneath his girth. I fear the trout is exhausted, but it flashes from my hand at the first opportunity.
Days pass. Weeks pass. Life’s obligations leave the rod balanced above the window where I left it.
Finally, a free day to play. Rain threatens, but it doesn’t appear imminent. I change course and drive up the Fryingpan in search of a spot without a vehicle already parked in it. I find one where I have not fished before, though I’m familiar with the wide, slow spot I know I’ll find beyond the willows choking the bank.
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I experiment with a couple of PMD patterns and catch a couple of small trout. A blue-wing olive pattern produces another brown in the net. Glancing skyward for a weather forecast, I spot it – a pudgy drake fluttering upward as though its wings can’t quite carry it aloft. It’s just one bug, but still. I hear a splash, and then another, as I fumble with the knot on my favorite drake pattern.
The hatch doesn’t match the intensity of the Roaring Fork outing, but that doesn’t keep the trout from smacking the surface repeatedly. I quickly catch a half-dozen or more fish.
It’s over before I know it, but at least I knew it when it began.