I have lost myself in the gentle waters of the Bois Brule River once again. The light is fading as I creep along its boulder-strewn edges. Peering through the rolling fog and drizzle, I spy a brown drake adrift along the tag alders lining the opposite bank. The water is black there. A heavy shouldered brown trout rises recklessly through the tannin-colored depths. I can hear my heart quicken in the quiet of the moment. He rises again. I begin to dress my fly as a whippoorwill breaks into its ghostly song.

This is home for me. In the stealing darkness, with the cedar trees bowing down, the river seems to be granting me permission to fish this place. It is a privilege whose grace is not lost on me.

by Paul Stillmank
June 2018