Ten o’clock, two o’clock, ten o’clock, two o’clock, the rod flexes sending the fly soaring through the air while neon line loads the next 10 feet. Golden light dapples on the water's surface and a trico hatch emerges from the river. Thousands of insects spin helplessly back toward The North Platte and into the mouths of rising fish. The angler adjusts and ties on a new a fly. Targeting the feeding frenzy he lays his line just left of the riffle. A cutter cadis lands softly on the water, the 6x tippet invisible to the fish below. The angler points downstream and with the flick of a wrist mends the line back toward the rock, correcting for the fast drift and buying his presentation another three seconds. As the line unfurls, his free hand steadily strips in the slack until a wild brown trout breeches to swallow the fly. In a split second he raises his rod and tightens the line. With the hook set on the jawbone, the fish takes off downstream in zig zag patterns. The reel spins, zinging line and sparks of water from the cork handle. With the rod held high and keeping the line taught, the angler starts running, splashing through the water, dodging slippery rocks and avoiding deep holes. His focus never leaves the fish and after 15 minutes of cunning resistance the tired trout idles into the net. This scene will replay itself over and over again every day on the ranch throughout its 13 miles of private stream and river.
The international popularity of fly-fishing seems inevitable. A sport that demands such physical, mental, and emotional immersion into the natural world often lands fisherman in some of the most scenic and pristine areas of the globe. For many, catching fish is merely a bonus.