Thursday, August 18, 2011
Elk Lake, MT
11:00am - Elk Lake Resort - somewhere west of Lima, MT: Two questionable-looking characters wander in and belly up to the bar that serves as the base of operations for the place.
Good morning gentlemen, how can I help you?
Howdy. We’re with the Trout Unlimited – Outdoor Blogger Network group, here for a few days of fishin’ and bloggin’.
Nice to have you. I’m sorry, but your cabins won’t be ready until about 1:00. You’re welcome to hang here in the lodge in the meantime.
Great. Thanks. So, while we’re here at the bar, can we get a couple of beers?
I’m afraid we don’t serve alcohol until noon - in about an hour.
Really? Well, I’ll bet it’s noon somewhere right now... don't you think?
She smiles - a warm and genuine smile.
It probably is. How about a couple of cold sodas?
It seemed that Lerrina, the wonderfully hospitable I’ve-heard-it-all-before proprietress of the fine hunting and fishing establishment, was immune to our boyish charms.
In truth, most women are, so we accepted a couple of Mountain Dews and wandered out to the front porch to sit a spell. But the spell turned short as we gave in to the tidal pull of the body of water from which the resort takes its name, Elk Lake, just a stone’s throw back along the dirt track. Since we had a couple hours to kill, it might as well be fishing.
Knowing little about trout fishing in a lake, and without floatation of any sort, we spent a few moments eyeing the place from the overlooking roadway. Along the south point, we noticed intermittent rises, fish cruising about forty yards from shore, just outside a set of shallows that could be waded far enough to where a decent cast might reach the sporadic rings. Rods were strung and in to our waists we sloshed.
Unfamiliar with the feeding habits of the lake’s residents, we tried a little of everything and, while swimming a black woollybugger with a copper john dropper, I grabbed my first westslope cutthrout, the seventeen inch flash of fish that adorned an earlier post. It liked the look of the CJ. Sanders did an admirable job as net man, and had suggested the dropper, so claimed sixty-seven percent of the credit for the fish. I graciously agreed. The small sixty-seven percent, of course.
A few minutes later, on the same rig, I hooked another that felt a better fish, but it came unbuttoned before size could be confirmed. I remained at one fish netted for the afternoon, but it was enough. More than enough. Sanders caught a trio of his own, but laments that the lot of them, placed end to end, didn’t match my cutty.
So time was delightfully wasted, 1:00 came and went, and late afternoon arrived on the lake. It was time to head back to the lodge and meet the rest of the TU/OBN crew for our fishing event. It was time to get the show on the road.
And it was after noon.