Despite the pleasant weather, the landscape still clung to winter, in the form of bare tree limbs, dried husks of riparian grasses, and the slight tint of runoff lingering in the water.
A sooty-colored water dipper landed briefly upstream, and kept a watchful eye on both my antics and any food items drifting by in the currents.
With evening approaching and heavy gray clouds settling overhead, I quickly made my way upstream to one last spot, a deep pool that yielded a couple of nice fish last season.
No surface activity was evident, but after moving towards the head of the run, I spied a good brown cruising slowly in the shallows, and lobbed a scruffy #12 beadhead Krystal Hair Nymph its way. The fish turned, and casually inhaled the fly on the first cast.
This trout also provided a tussle, and proceeded to charge about the corners of the pool, doing its best to tie me off in weed beds and other structure. I guided the trout to shore, and gazed down at one final brown, a 16.5" male with the beginnings of a kype growing in, a good fish to end any day on. I caught this same fish almost a year ago, and it had grown a solid inch in the interim--one more testament to the benefits of catch and release, and yet another shining moment to be savored along this demanding and wonderful stream.