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The annual sojourn in Wyoming began as it has the last few years. The room was booked and as I get excited about going, I move up the departure date. My crew, David and Talmadge for the last 8 years, have come to expect this - it is predictable, and they laugh when I start suggesting an earlier arrival. The early arrival brings us to a small fishing town near Jackson.

This year we ended up in Driggs, ID. We fished the Teton river, but it would be a stretch to say it went well. Everything went well except the catching part of fishing. David is the best angler I have fished with and he always catches fish. Sadly, he did not have his usual haul on this trip. The water was pretty flat, also known as technical. This is not where I am strongest.

The best river for me is the Snake River with lots of elevation change and faster water. It is easier for me because the fast water gives the fish less time to determine if it is a real fly, or an imitation. So, flat water is a challenge. We spent two days in Idaho, with not much luck for Talmadge and me, then over the pass to our condo that will act as base camp for the next 13 days.

Change of scenery, not much change in my luck. There was smoke from the California fires and the temperature was much lower than the last few years. Low temperatures normally help the fishing, but something was off and I could not put my finger on it. We had lower numbers of fish caught on our float trip. We went back over Teton pass to fish the South Fork in Idaho. Three nice fish quickly including David’s catch of a 20-inch Brown trout. Then silence. We could not get anything to work. Bad luck. The Idaho authorities lowered the water flow, unannounced. No one caught much that day. It was a relief to know I had not forgotten how to fish.

On the way home our fishing guide Walt reminded us of how lucky we have been with weather the last few years. He was right. We had had almost perfect weather in the past and made me realize again how fortunate we had been through the years. This changed my perspective. I was no longer fishing to catch fish, just to enjoy and learn from those around me...the light came on.

It was a pleasure to get to fish with David and learn more techniques. We fished Flat Creek, very technical. I watched David and learned. We hiked in, stalked some big fish on the Snake. David caught some, I caught some and Talmadge caught some.

There was a great deal of rain and some mudslides in a couple of the tributaries, Buffalo Creek and Pacific Creek. Another setback.

The last day I fished with David we hiked seven miles to fish for 5 big fish. We caught 3 of them. David caught two. I pulled one off a bank in a thread off The Snake. The water was maybe four feet across. I executed the almost perfect cast, let the fly trickle down to the fish, and BAM! He ate it, I set the hook, and landed him. A 17+ inch Cutthroat trout.

The following morning David left. The fishing had improved, and I was catching big fish again.

There was one more float trip with Walt. Walt is the best guide I know, and he knows where the trout are. The advantage with Walt, is we are on a boat and see maybe 25 to 30 times the water. Walt’s nickname is ‘trout slayer’! Walt knows the river and has been a guide for 15 years. Walt is intense, he wants his clients to catch fish. He works hard, and you will get some opportunities. We had caught some big fish on this trip. So, the bar was pretty high.

Talmadge and I had each caught some Cutthroat trout. Beautiful fish.

Last day, last float. I missed on a fish I had caught before. Walt mentioned he saw a side channel, was not sure if there were any fish holding there. I looked and noticed how similar it was to the fish David and I had stalked. This is what we were looking for. I waded up the channel. First cast a bit errant. The second was right where I wanted it. Oh my goodness! A huge trout went for my fly, but it missed. I set the hook…nothing. Dejected. Walt and I both cringed. I thought I would try again, since I did not feel any pull, maybe it did not nick him. I looked to Walt, he nodded. The cast, again right where I wanted it, BAM! He ate it! I set the hook, felt the pull, he’s on…no. I missed. Walt encouraged me. No way he will come again. I cast to the same fish a third time. The cast was spot on, he ate it again! I set the hook, nothing. Walt said, one more time? I nodded. A couple of casts, no rise to the top of the water by the fish. Maybe he moved up in the seam? I moved up in the seam. Looked at Walt, he nodded again. The cast was right where I wanted it. The presentation was perfect, the drift was natural. BAM!!! He slammed the fly, I set the hook, he was on!

The landing of a big fish is pure finesse. It happens when the fish is ready, or tired. It is hard to wear them out in such small water. I was fortunate to have Walt on the net. When the fish attempted to go downstream, Walt scooped him up with the net. Yes!

I looked at Walt, he had pure joy on his face. I know that was exactly the expression I had on my face. Pure Joy. Nirvana.

I named the fish Walt. I will never forget the joy on his face, and mine. Thank you Walt!

You might ask, “What does this have to do with the market?” Plenty. Trust that we have developed the skills to manage your portfolios in challenging times. Trust we have developed tactics to be successful even when conditions are not perfect, like now. The economy is continuing to improve. The business cycle is in recovery. Be patient.

Thanks again Walt!