There's almost always a little doubt in my mind as I make my first few casts. It increases with every drift and every change of flies that doesn't produce a take. One hour quickly becomes two and the next thing you know, I'm wandering up and down the stream bank unsure if I'll ever figure out what the fish want. I can see them... LOTS of them... big and dark against the stream bottom... some near 30 inches and over 10 pounds. Yet my offerings produce little more than the occasional bump from a rock on the bottom. It's incredibly frustrating. If it were easy, I suppose it wouldn't be near as much fun.
Then it happens. One of those "bumps" becomes hooked solid. The fly rod is bent double and nothing is moving... just for an instant, I wonder if I snagged that rock... but then a large fish rolls and races quickly down stream... leaving a boil on the surface of the swift river and quickly ripping into the backing on my reel. After gaining most of my line back and closing the distance considerably, I can see it's a large egg-laden hen... and at that instant, the hook pulls free and she swims slowly back into the main current and out of sight. It would be heart-breaking if it weren't so much fun... and I know there are plenty of fish.
The rest of the day produces many hooked fish... some landed and some lost. By sunset, I'm home, tired and happy. Today will be a work day energized by yesterday's fishing. It's all good!