The Golden Rule

You don’t ask about them in polite company, not directly. Bustling barroom chatter falls silent at their mention. A clumsily cast question will land flinty stares and a second will get you shown the door. In a culture – hunters and anglers – that is notoriously tight lipped about its honey-holes…

“He’s a beaut Bob. Where’d you say you found him?”

“I didn’t say. But between you and me, it was down on Nunya.”

“Nunya?”

“That’s right. Just there southeast of the Aintellin.”

“Uh huh.”

…  no secrets are more closely kept than those of the golden trout. The lengths taken to cover tracks would make the defenders of El Dorado blush.  The uninitiated might deduce from all the measures and countermeasures that the fish are actually made of gold. They would, of course, be wrong. Golden trout are so much more precious than their namesake mineral.

Golden prerelease

Photos by Matthew Copeland

They are more rare, far prettier, harder to find, harder still to reach and much more rewarding to hold. The metal is ubiquitous, used as high-style ornament and high-tech ingredient all the world round. A relative handful of people, by contrast, ever lay eyes on the fish. The two share a propensity for inspiring obsession though. Fishermen afflicted with Golden Trout Fever have been known to wander the mountains for years – unshaven, twitchy and muttering cryptically about scuds – in search of that unnamed lake in the sky, where goldens grow to size unmolested. With that type of commitment in the mix, it’s little wonder that more information isn’t forthcoming.

If you read pride or boasting in my words, you’ve misunderstood me. I claim no expertise or wealth of experience. What pittance of knowledge I possess on the subject has come as a gift, the product of obscure hints and cryptic riddles shared by generous friends over whiskey and campfires. That, and a willingness to keep walking uphill, will get anyone started.

If and how they ever stop is up to them.

Golden Gone

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