"Meanwhile Back At The Ranch"

We have morphed into summer here at the ranch; short shorts, Navajo tans, and watermelon smiles. You know summer has arrived when you buy sun screen and bug dope by the case and have to scrape the char off your barbecue grill twice a day.

Like the mission statement says (work hard play harder) lately I have been trying to do the later. The run off finally ran off, so I grabbed my fly fishing gear and struck out for the river, drove clear up to the dam where the spillway gushes mountain waters saturating the air with a continuous blast of effervescence.

I waded into some deep riffle water and started drifting a nymph. On the third cast I hooked a 14 inch German Brown that fought tenaciously before succumbing to the net. I turned two more fish, carbon copies of the first before moving on upstream. After an unproductive hour; I packed it in and drove to a familiar deep run several miles down stream.

It got so hot I thought my neoprene waders where going to spontaneously combust and wading provided little relief, fortunately the fishing proved sublime. I landed a fat rainbow followed by a nice brown, but when a hatch of tan mayflies started coming off the water my nymph became obsolete. I corralled one of the little winged buggers for closer look then tried to find a match in my fly box. I tied on a small tan elk hair caddis pattern, then crossed the stream in hopes of a drag free drift.

Letting out a false cast, I let the fly settle to the surface when . . . BANG! A nice brown trout bent my nine foot rod in half; I played him out walking backward down stream so as not to disrupt the feeding frenzy at the head of the run. I turned that one loose and moved up for another, minutes later an eighteen inch smacked my fly. As I repeated this routine the fish got progressively bigger until a twenty-four inch brown came off the bottom and gulped my fly. The fight was on; it took my drag out three times while I tried to finesse the monster fish on 2lb test.

Twelve minutes later I won the battle coaxing the tired fish into shallow water. The magnificent trout floated at my feet glistening gold and silver covered with big orange spots. I eased the net over it just as the hook pulled free; another second and I would have lost it.

I kept the net low in the water and admired my treasure before gingerly releasing it back into the current. I regret not having a camera, that, and not putting enough sun screen on my nose, Quick . . . somebody call the fire department; I have a three alarm blaze on my face.

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