Wild Trout Are Pouty and Other Lies

Wild Trout Are Pouty and Other Lies

Amazing trout that allowed me to land and release it a couple weeks ago.

I took a break from my hike and stood on the bridge overlooking the creek—gazing into clear waters, wanting to find trout—I said out loud, You trout are pouty little things, aren’t you? Suddenly three huge trout materialized out of the rocks. It’s true, they popped into the creek via a portal or something because there’s no way there were there the entire time I had been searching.

I have read a lot since starting my fly fishing journey and much is written about trout being moody and pouty and difficult creatures. One guy even wrote in his book that they are stupid (I would burn that book if it wasn’t in my Kindle app). I guess they are difficult because they are more intelligent than those of us trying to see them and (gasp) politely ask them to bite a hook.

The three brutes meandered around the rock ledges, nosed the bottom, occasionally grabbed a bite from some insect nymph (which I can only imagine because they are too small to see even when a replica is on the end of my tippet). These ninja trout were queens of stealth and smarts. So of course they get labeled, along with all their kin, as being pouty or snotty or moody. Gosh, as a woman I know what that’s like.

Zoomed-in photo of one of my trout teachers this morning. Notice their color blends perfectly with the rocks.
Another photo of the same trout but zoomed out….these creatures know how to hide.

Wild trout are intelligent, wonderfully amazing creatures that know how to live and survive. Occasionally they might bite a fly we send their way but mostly they will nibble and spit it out in total disgust. Why? Because they are wild and free and let’s face it, much smarter than the two-legged animals stalking them.

After watching yet another trout join their morning breakfasting and apologizing for calling them pouty, I walked on and reflected on the encounter with these beautiful rainbow trout. Women have historically been labeled as moody or pouty when we have refused to bite the hook of domestication. Every wild woman knows what I mean. We can be very attractive to men who think how fun it would be to partner with us until they realize that they will never tame us. Just like the wild trout, we will not submit our wildness to anyone.

The other day I watched a guy beat his fly rod back and forth through the air (yes, use your imagination and giggle at the intended pun) like he was killing the trout before the fly ever touched the water. I actually laughed out loud at this barbaric behavior and thankfully the sound of rushing water muffled my laugh which kept up the illusion of politeness. Good fly fishers know the artistry and grace of a fly rod captained by a wise fly fisher. Man or woman, aggressive casting is cause for eye-rolling and laughter. 

Our culture was founded on the power-over mentality: labeling indigenous cultures as savages so destroying them was acceptable, burning women who were healers so their property could be seized, enslaving people because they wanted free labor. The language carries over to how we describe wild things. 

This morning those beautiful rainbow trout reminded me to honor their intelligence, their wisdom and their wildness and to never, ever give up my wildness to anything that would try to tame me. Many men have told me that women make better fly fishers. I think I understand why that is so just a little better now.

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