Saturday morning we gathered Aspen and headed to Shadow Mountain Lake for her morning swim. What a difference a week makes. Last weekend, the kayak launch was bustling with activity and this weekend it was our own little oasis. After swimming Aspen for an extended period of time, we took her back to Base Camp and then headed back to the boat launch with “The Big Mango.”
In the water and on our way, we easily paddled the channel from Shadow Mountain Lake into Grand Lake without needing to wait in a queue to enter the lake. Once more, we found ourselves paddling along the southern shore at a steady pace as there is no real hurry except for a sudden crack of thunder interrupting our adventure. Turning back toward Stillwater Pass and viewing the clouds, it looked as if the rain would stay to the north.
In all, there could have been no more than a dozen of various watercraft on the water, a few boats toiling about looking to catch a fish or two, a single paddle boarder plying his craft on the water and a few others kayaking the lake. Paddling along the northern shore, we meandered into North Inlet Creek, paddling as far back as we were able; the creek provides a quite respite off the bustling lake. Reversing course and back on the lake, we crossed the beach where folks were enjoying the weather and taking in the warm mountain sun.
As we had entered the channel heading back onto Shadow Mountain Lake, the wind suddenly picked up. With a quick eye to the sky and determining rainfall was eminent, we headed back to shore after paddling close to 4.5 miles. We were met onshore by a mother with her two kids attempting to have a picnic lunch near the waters edge before the wind and rain sent them scrambling back to their car.
With the kayak secured back atop the Tahoe we headed back to Base Camp, but not with out stopping at the Mountain Food Market to pick up an avocado and a few other provisions for the evening meal: Chicken Tinga Tacos.
Sunday morning started bright and early. After racing around late Saturday afternoon acquiring a few new fishing supplies, I headed down to Monarch Lake. Arriving just a touch after 7AM, with the temperature a balmy 39 degrees, I headed out to secure my spot on the water.
Walking up to the trailhead, I noticed a bunch of garbage strewn about and the set eyes on the bear proof garbage bin that apparently is no longer bear proof. Signing in at the trailhead, I began walking down the trail towards the dam with my head on a swivel looking about for the bear; my bear spray was securely tucked away in my pack, which was back at Base Camp. I noticed a small pile of bear scat off the trail, but it appeared to not to be fresh, fortunately.
Pole in hand and my Patch Adams fly at the end of the line, I casted the line into the water. After a few more casts, I let the fly sit in the water, giving a tug every now and then to bring the fly back to the surface. And the moment I had reached into my pocket for a snack, I felt a bite on the line. However, the fish only hit my line and ran. I tried to set the hook but my drag was to loose. I quickly attempted to tighten the drag and reset the hook, but the fish had spit the hook.
Though I did not land the “big one,” I am encouraged since this was the first bite I had had all year with a new technique using a fly. After my adrenaline subsided, I recast the line back into the lake, hoping for a second chance as the fishing were popping about across the lake. No such luck. But, I am already looking forward to next weekend.