The early morning sun brightened the sky above as I walked down to the river. The only sounds were songbirds, the soft whisper of the currents, and crunching of gravel under my feet. Along the river banks a thin blanket of mist wrapped the bare trees and evergreens in silver. Who needs church when one can come to places like this?
The cool air chilled my fingers as I prepared my leader by first tying on a length of 5X tippet, my every breath visible in the windless morning. I then tied a size 12 dark hare's ear nymph to that tippet, being careful to make a clean knot. To the eye of the hare's ear, I then clinch-knotted a 15" length of 6X tippet, to which I then tied a bright orange, size 16, Chimarra caddis larva imitation. After adding what I thought would be the right amount of split shot to my leader about 8 inches above the point fly, I checked each of the fly's hooks to make sure they were sharp, and I was ready to go.
I waded slowly into the eddy at the bottom of a long, smooth pool and stopped when I knew I had enough room behind me for a clean backcast. The clear greenish water was up about mid-calf on my legs and I felt its pleasant coolness quickly through the waders. I pulled some line off the reel and after wiggling it through the rod guides and out the tip, I began to cast.
The first cast dropped my flies about 25 feet up along a current tongue, and they immediately began sinking and drifting back toward my lowered rod tip. I recovered line with my left hand at a rate just short of the water speed, and when the flies reached the end of their drift, I lifted and cast again, dropping the flies just slightly to the left of my first cast.
As the flies settled into their drift and to the bottom, my line suddenly straightened. I lifted the rod and was fast to a nice rainbow, that came blasting out of the water surface, showing me its speckled crimson sides. It then dogged deep in the current, taking line is it moved quickly up into the head of the pool. It fought hard and strong, before surrendering quietly in the calm water to my right. For a moment, I admired its bright, well fed flanks and wide tail before reaching down to back the small orange fly in its upper jaw out. The fish hesitated once free, as though surprised, and then with a quick flutter of its tail it was gone.
By the time I had to head off to work, the sun was still behind the mountain, but the air was warmer and brighter. A soft breeze had carried off the mist, and the birds continued to hail another day. I had brought five trout to hand, the largest being the first, and although I was leaving this place, it was coming with me until next time.