Sport: Zen and The Art of Fly-Fishing

Americans flock to the trout streams for a mystical high

Fly-fishing for trout is an undemocratic sport. It takes intelligence and skill to learn, a healthy income to afford and plenty of free time to practice. Though bait fishermen scoff that snobs use flies as an excuse to keep worm and minnow goo off their hands, fly-fishermen approach the sport with an almost mystical reverence. Perhaps that's because learning to catch trout is a complex process bordering on religion. Yet it is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S., now embraced by nearly 500,000 fisherpeople.

It is in some ways a dangerous sport too, but less for the fish than...