It's a warm and blustery day. I get away at mid-afternoon and head to Yellowwood for the evening. What changes would I find there this time as the world takes baby steps toward full spring?
I bob along in the float tube and work the shoreline with a weighted streamer.
As I turn out into open water heading for the other side, I let line out and troll the fly behind me. A slight pull and a small bass comes to hand. As always, a sense of possibility flickers into flame.
I troll on across. I revert to a yellow streamer that was successful last time, wondering if there's any significance in going yellow at Yellowwood. I start working the shoreline back around. Now the wind is at my back and casting is easier.
I work the structure, natural and man made. Why would anyone throw a picnic table in the lake? Then again, why would anyone leave their litter strewn everywhere? Alas, that is also a fact of life here. It's one of the effects of living in a higher population area: there is a higher ratio of idiots who come to the outdoors for no other reason, apparently, than to disrespect it.
I shoot the fly in under some low hanging branches and strip it back out. This time I feel a slight bump--and then a strong pull. It's the best bass yet, pushing 15 inches. There is a definite feeling of having passed a barrier.
I kick on around the shoreline, watching hikers and their dogs pass by noisily up on the trail. I bask a little in the good feeling that comes with a decent catch.
Then another small bass tackles the streamer.
And shortly after a bluegill inhales it.
The view is changing. Things are looking better. The green leaves of spring are slowly but surely covering up last year's dead ones.
It's evening and I make the turn at the dam. My eye catches a lone duck moving across the silver water. Then I hear a familiar sound close overhead.
I look up to see swallows by the score dancing over the lake. This is my first sighting this year. To me, this phenomenon is worth the trip every time. And if the swallows have come back, we can be assured that halcyon days can't be far behind.
I approach the spillway with its array of mysterious concrete monuments. Sebastian and I have fished together on the bank here. The landmark "No Swimming" sign on the side of this pumping station is easy to obey in the cooling dusk. In the dog days it will be a hard-to-resist challenge.
I make the last turn. I'm nearing the little bay where the boat ramp is when something pecks at the streamer. Then, in quick succession, I pull in three more fish.
Things are definitely looking up.