The first point of concern was whether my waders would still fit. It had been a couple months since I'd last worn them, so I had no idea whether they were going to fit over my belly or not. As luck would have it, I had about an inch to spare.
After gearing up, I headed down the well worn path from the parking area into the trees. Normally very nimble and sure-footed, I found myself being extra careful on the steep parts of the trail. My extra weight out front has apparently affected my balance a bit. Once out of the trees, I entered a meadow of grass reaching above my head. I silently thanked the previous fishermen who had laid out a maze of trampled paths for me to follow.
Once I reached the water, I followed it downstream a ways so I could fish up. There wasn't much going on in terms of hatches or risers, but on the first cast a little guy made a splashy take at my Pass Lake dropper as soon as it hit the water. I assumed that was a sign of good things to come. I continued fishing upstream and had a lot of quick takes on the dropper as it floated along the undercut banks.
As the sun got higher, my stamina got lower. I could feel my energy waning fast, so after only an hour on the water, I headed back to the parking lot. It was hard to abandon the runs I saw ahead of me, but I didn't want to test the baby's patience. Temporarily gone are the days of being able to fish for an entire day without even stopping to eat, but I'm glad I made it out to explore some new water.
As it turned out, I managed to get out one more time before the season closed. A couple friends were heading to the Driftless for an afternoon and invited me along. We ended up fishing the same stretch of water we ended the 2012 season on. It was a similar sort of day, too, with the sun shining, a cool breeze blowing, and the leaves beginning to change color.
There were lots of risers around, and although more fish were missed than caught, enough of them took my flies to make the trip a successful end to the season.
One season is now closed, but a different one is about to begin for me. I've enjoyed my independence for a long time; I've been able to do what I wanted when I wanted for the most part. As I prepare for this new adventure, though, I'm beginning to look forward to having responsibility for someone else. I know I'll miss having the freedom to pack up and leave for a weekend of fishing whenever it suits me, but I predict that spending a weekend with my husband and newborn will be even more fulfilling. And down the road, I'm looking forward to having a new fly fishing partner by my side.