|His Majesty’s Trout|
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His Majesty’s Trout
Deep in the Kingdom of Bhutan swim Asia’s privileged royal fish. A sacred fortress against the jagged Himalayan peaks, the Punakha Dzong overshadows a wide river and a rice-terraced valley where women with sharp cheekbones weave, men work the fields and children play archery.
The fortress looks surreal with soaring ivory towers, and massive beams carved into dragons and golden Buddhas. It definitely looks and feels like no other place on Earth.
This fantastic vision served as a backdrop to my concentration on the river below it. Leaning far over the side of the swaying footbridge, I looked deep into the clear waters of the Mo River at the most incredible collection of brown trout I'd ever seen: Dozens of giant brown trout, and most looked to measure a fat two feet or more. Suspended along a fast current, like river tigers, they hunted nymphs and errant minnows. I knew all it would took was an easy cast with a sinking copperhead and I'd have a thrashing brown on the line. It seemed too good to believe, and it was.
Rushing across the bridge, I approached a guard at the gates, and asked, "Can I fish here?" He looked at me incredulously, like I obviously had no clue what I'd asked. "Absolutely not, sir. If you fished here, you would have big trouble, for these are His Majesty's trout."