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  • In the middle of a Montana summer, the icy water of Onion Creek was cold and razor sharp. Back home, it was 106 degrees. All by himself, the fisherman stepped into the fray.

    Brown trout are wary – perspicacious really – only striking if the proffered bug is consistent with the hatch that nature had supplied that morning. Plus, the presentation must be perfect. The sum total of millions of years of evolution – surviving as the fittest - this fish’s small brain is large enough to derisively ignore any amateur’s ham-handed casts.

    Reading these streams for the hiding places of browns is complicated. With no Cliff notes, footnotes, liner notes or musical notes, the confused angler is a toddler in quantum physics class... cute, but way out of his depth of knowledge. Advantage: brownie.

    A dozen casts later, the fly finally finds a hiding place of Mr. Brownie. He’s stationed himself in a secret spot, a little private pool where the water rushes over some rocks and dumps delicious morsels to him in his new-found diner. Below these rocks, it’s easy pickins for this gourmand of grubs.

    “Whoops. Well, hello there. What’s that? It looks a little strange, but who doesn’t like a little strange once in a while? I think I’ll grab that. What could it hurt,” the trout asked himself.

    Pop. The hit was undeniable to the angler. Adrenaline gushed through every capillary.

    “Just set the hook, play it cool and get this brownie in the net,” the angler said to nobody in particular. The rod bent over as the brown trout took off like a rocket. The war of wills was on!

    It seemed like hours, but it was only a few minutes. The fight between man and nature ended in a draw.

    “Man! What a beautiful fish! Come here little buddy. Let me get that hook out of you. There you go. Now you have a good day and stay away from strange flies.”

    The trout was back in the water and out of sight in seconds. Lesson learned. Then there was only a cool wind blowing over Onion Creek, the soft, riffling sound of water rushing over rocks and a solitary fisherman stripping the line for the next cast.





    Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by nilsrinaldi
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