I just got back from spending a week on a lake an hour to the north. He’s an account of my last night on the lake. The first photo was taken my last morning on the lake. I didn’t take any photos the night I wrote about. The water lily was shot a few days early, at midday, when the lilies are open.
I’m on my fifth summer and still can’t get use to it being this light this late in the evening. I push my canoe into the water a little after 9 P.M. and the sky is still red. A month ago the sun would have even been up. The afternoon breeze, which made sailing so delightful, has died and the water is as smooth as glass, the only ripples come from a few fish rising to the surface. I step in the boat and kneel against a thwart, digging my paddle into the sand to push the boat out onto the lake. I paddle along the shoreline. Instead of starting with a fly rod, I’ve brought along a new rod to try. I purchased this one last week to take to Canada to use for Walleyes, but tonight I hope to catch a Smallmouth or, even better, a Northern Pike. Normally, I like one of my ultra-lights, a flexible rod with 4 pound test line. This new rod is much stiffer and the reel has two spools; tonight I’m using 6 pound line but I have another reel with 8 pound test. I cast a large doubled bladed toward the lily pads, dropping the line just inches from the pads. After maybe a half-dozen casts, I get a hit. I yank the rod to set the hook and almost propel the fish out of the water and into the boat. It’s a small bass, maybe 10 inches, way under the size limit. He doesn’t even bend the rod as I reel him in. I let him go and make a few more casts. I’ve not caught anything of size all week, having loss the only good bass next to the boat, not having with me at the time a net to land him. Mostly, my fish have been limited to bluegills that I’ve picked up with a fly rod. After a few more casts without hits, I store the spinning rod in the bottom of the canoe and pull out a 9 foot fly rod. In no time, fish are rising to the small spider that I drop at various locations around the lily pads. The bluegills aren’t real anxious and I miss as many as I catch. They’re all small. If I really wanted to catch a big bass, I’d hook one of these small bluegills to a large treble hook that I’d dangle a few feet under a large cork and want till the flailing fish attracts a much larger bass. But that’d be too much work. I can catch a big one at another time. Instead, I enjoy sitting on the water watching the light drain from the sky, while swatting mosquitoes and tormenting bluegills. As the light completely drains away, I’m no longer able to see the end of the line. I reel it in and stow the fly rod. Jupiter, which has been visible for sometime, is a bright star just above the trees on the eastern shore. The planet seems to call out to me and I dig my paddle into the water and head eastward. The stars in Scorpios, where Jupiter resides, slowly become visible. There’s only one other boat on the lake, at the south end; they’re having a party and their sound carries across the water. It’s probably a half mile across and by the time I reach the other shore, the party boat is heading end. I paddle back across the lake in quiet peace, serenaded by insects. Slowly more stars appear. I gaze at the lighted cabin ringing the lake, there lights reflecting off the water. When I reach Hayes Point, back on the western shore, I pull the canoe out of the water; I pick up my rods and climb the hill to the cabin. It’s 10:30 PM. I fix a cup of tea and pull out a book. I’ll read for a bit, and then turn in for the night. Tomorrow will be my last day on the lake.