Montauk State Park down in Licking, MO. The Current River begins from springs here so the water is very cold and runs fairly swiftly. It was about 8:30 in the morning and I was the only person down along this portion of the trout stream when a large barred owl flew up into a tree directly across from where I was fishing. He was so magnificent that I just smiled and started talking to him. “Well, good morning handsome (although I didn’t know if it was a male or a female), how are you this morning? Looking for breakfast?” He just kept tilting his head like he was listening to me attentively and then checking out what was in the stream. I said, “Hold on a minute and I’ll get you one,” and I went back to fishing. I looked back a moment later and he was gone. I glanced upstream where I had a stringer of three trout—you’re allowed four a day—and there was the owl with his wings spread and his talons holding onto my stringer!
“Whoa there, fella, you can’t have all of them!” I yelled and started towards the owl. He flew up into the same tree where he had been across the river. I walked down to my stringer and continued fishing. I looked up at the owl at one point and said, “Just hold on a minute and I’ll catch you one.” I went back fishing when I heard the sound of his wings close to me. He was now in a tree about 10 feet from me, sitting on a low branch. I could see every feather, design, movement, facial features—everything. He was truly magnificent. I watched him watching me and then went back to fishing. A few minutes later I caught a trout, removed the hook from its mouth and called, “Here ya go buddy!” I tossed it just under his perch. He kept looking at me, looking at the fish, looking at me, looking at the fish when suddenly he swooped down, grabbed the trout with his talons and off he flew with the fish in tow! It was one of the most beautiful things I think I’ve ever seen! What a gift to have experienced that moment.My guest blogger J is an expert at fishing. We met one summer at Girl Scout camp when we were teenagers. She was lighting firecrackers under the camp director’s window at the time. Today her career is in law enforcement and investigations. Love your stories, J! Thanks for sharing around our virtual campfire! And thanks to Richard Crook who shared this photo of an owl looking as though he’s about to steal a stringer!