There I met Dave, who has a favorite spot elsewhere, but tried today in the vicinity I wanted to fish, setting up just as I got there. I rigged up my 11-foot steelhead noodle rod--never to be used for steelhead again, since we fly fish them now--and lugged a cast that soared out seemingly twice as far as I can reach with my 6-foot Ugly Stick. (After I left, I figured next time I'll add a half-ounce slip sinker to the line in addition to a 3/4 ounce and see how far that goes.)
I got that cast out, and visited Dave before rigging up the other two rods. As we spoke, a trout splashed about three feet in front of us. Shortly after I had my second rig set, I heard the bell on his rod jingle and a moment later he was fast to the rainbow he let me photograph. That south breeze really had power come sort of across into Ranger Cove, and it kicked up mud. Dave got his marshmallow and mealworm in close at mud's edge. Nothing like my long, light power noodle reach. I set other rigs close in also.
But Dave emerged the victor by far. We had to leave Lot 2 at 4:00. (Actually, we drove off at 4:08.) Park closes all too early, and I guess that's a good thing so staff doesn't get over worked. Who wants to tend regulations all day. The main launch area stays open 24 hours. That's where we went after Dave landed his third rainbow, these fish ranging between 14 and 16 inches.
We hung out for another 20, 25 minutes before Dave left and I lingered into dusk, my brother Rick phoning, the two of us talking fishing another 20 minutes, finishing with his invitation for my family to come over Thanksgiving. I won't even know if I have to work my job that day until Tuesday. So perhaps another year passes without us getting over to my brother's in Brick.
I left Round Valley in the dark, and though I hooked nothing, sure had some encounters with trout, and more important, one of the guys who go for them. There's a lot of cold season at the Valley. It really runs from late September until May, and it's fitting that most of the year is the cold season at the reservoir with depths that never warm above 40 degrees or so. We fish the Valley because the place abandons us, and so we have a little freedom.