Holed up in a Whitefish, Mont. hotel, John Holt finds solace in cigars, whiskey and a lonesome pursuit in a lonesome stream and the company of harlequins.

“Reality is as thin as paper and betrays with all its cracks its imitative character.”

—The Street of Crocodiles, Bruno Schulz

The Crazies have lost most of their snow. June’s strong hit of sunshine took care of that. July is already showing itself to be hot-blooded. I see the jagged, barren peaks gradually revealing their blend of gray, light salmon, and purple rock as they shed their winter coat. I watch this steady process from the window in my third-floor corner room at the Montana Hotel—the most-likely final resting place for a certain type of derelict now resigned to his lot in life. No fame. No wealth. No National Book Award. No big deal.

I don’t need the smudged, warped-glass view looking east-northeast out of this room to tell me the small streams I like to cast upon for Yellowstone cutthroat are compressing to good levels. I check the stream conditions on the Internet. I’ll go fishing today for the first time in weeks, since before full-blown runoff began in late May…

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The Flyfish Journal Volume 3 Issue 2 Feature The Harlequin Parade

above Rarely seen in Montana, this handsome pair of harlequins finds refuge from spring runoff on a lichen-covered boulder. Pristine rivers supply plenty of nymphs, a favored food of these unique ducks.

Photo: Mike Murri


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