One-Way Ticket to Brown Town — Ode to Brown Trout


Their habits are clandestine, their legend strong, and their choice in living accommodations impeccable.  The word brown falls pitifully short when describing these stream kings.

Perhaps a more apt moniker would be deep bronze, or burnt butter, or invariably beautiful.  I speak, of course, of the mighty Brown Trout.  It has always been at the zenith of my piscatorial preference.  And it was not always the size of the brown trout that attracted me, but the general difficulty experienced when stalking them.  I honed my fishing chops on little wild Browns that average about nine inches.  Each brown trout more beautiful than the next.  A worthy adversary to be sure.

The slow and deliberate rise of a large brown trout shall send your knees to shuddering.  A golden nose which pierces the surface with no sense of urgency, but a powerful sense of purpose is why I hold these critters so dear.  Stalking consistently large Browns on foot, with dry flies is…well, the champagne of fishing.

This week, I’ve had a few days off, and good thing too, cause my oldest and dearest fishing buddy is in town.  The sort of friend that you have spent an inordinate amount of time with, pursuing the fish and fishing what every new river offers.  We managed to do pretty well.

I’m sitting on the bank.  My nerves are still standing up.  I’ve just bummed a smoke from Jason and the cigarette lay listless in the corner of my mouth.  The smoke floats up into the air, distorts the sun for just a moment.  I’m picking weeds off my fly line and thinking about the fish I just released.  Thinking about all the fish we’ve released over the years, and all the hours we’ve released.

It is a good day; the Brown Trout are quite large and hungry.  Bury me here, I think, half engaged to the moment, and half somewhere far far away.


So when I flee

From this earth so free

Carry me down

Drop me in, windward or lee

With a smile not a frown

And leave with me

A one-way ticket to Brown Town


Enjoy this blog? Please leave comments in the Facebook commenting box below and be sure to click the +1 button.   Be sure to visit our Make it Missoula fishing page.  And Check out Matt and Bryce’s other blogs:  The Four Stages of Fly Fishing, The Trip of all Fly Fishing TripsMissouri River Fishing–Trout Mecca of Montana and  Fly Fishing Season is When?

If you enjoy western Montana lakes and rivers, you might also enjoy our page on Missoula kayaking and rafting.


Photos of Missoula Fly Fishing Experts Matt Devlin and Bryce McLeanBryce McLean:  (Right) I was born and raised in Montana, and have been fly fishing here for almost 20 years.  I first learned to fish on the Missouri River, but when I was 10 my family moved to the Bitterroot Valley. I have been fishing the Bitterroot River ever since.  This will be my second season guiding the Missoula area rivers, which I consider to be some of the best trout fisheries on planet earth. Matt Devlin:  (Left) Matt is originally from Annapolis, Maryland and learned to fool trout on the technical waters of the Gunpowder River.  He has fished in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Main,e, Michigan, Indiana, North and South Carolina, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Idaho and Montana.  He thinks about flies and fishing a whole lot.