A wild trout, tiny, perfect, in a stream made of no more than puddles connected by ribbons of water. Fires burning off to the north, Yellowstone Park was sleeping under a smoky blanket. Todd Koel, the Fisheries manager of the park had told me about a tiny brook where native Westslope Cutthroats had most likely been introduced from another part of the park in the early 1900s. I went there, feeling that magical feeling I once felt as a child when I’d discovered a small stream near my home where native brook trout had survived human development.
Can a sense of wonder survive if the things that elicit that wonder disappear? The only holdout for many native trout are tiny headwater streams like this, upstream of human habitations, barely noticeable as they flow through the woods and the meadows.
Westslope cutthroat trout.
Yellowstone falls in smoke blanket.
Oxbow Creek hidden in the meadow.
Upper Oxbow Creek.
Pure Westslope Cutthrot.