The media was kept away from Barack Obama’s first foray into presidential trout fishing last week during his trip to Montana. But thanks to hollow cottonwoods and tall streamside grass, Outdoor Life managed to catch a few snippets of Obama’s conversation with fishing guide Dan Vermillion during the rainy session on the East Gallatin River.

“Wow, these hooks are sharp as a Sarah Palin glare.”

“Yeah, I know. You just hooked me in the ear with your last backcast.”

“Sorry, Dan. I guess I’m a little preoccupied with health care. Speaking of which, you need a Band-Aid? You’re bleeding pretty bad.”

“I’m okay. Whoa, you just missed a rise. You have to keep your eye on your fly.”

“Hey! That sort of talk back in D.C. will get you a restraining order. And a call from Larry Craig.”

“So, the word out here in the West is that you’re going to take away all our guns once the economy turns around.”

“Oh, Dan, that’s a bunch of crazy talk. Between you and me, the gun industry is so economically viable that I’m actually thinking of, you know, maybe consolidating some of it in my Homeland Security department.”

“You might socialize the gun industry? Hey, cast over to that rise along the bank!”

“Well, socialism is such a loaded term. I’d just ask for some, um, public-spirited contributions to pull us out of this recession. After all, double-digit growth is only acceptable if it’s my poll numbers. Dang! Missed another fish. I don’t know why we need all these firearms companies anyway. After all, one gun is pretty much just like another. Just like those constitutional amendments. In an effort to make government more efficient, I’m thinking of restructuring the Bill of Rights. Two or three amendments seems about right. My new justice, Sonia, seems to agree with that, too.”

“I hear you’re thinking of making an announcement about public access to public land. That’s a big deal out here in the West. Public land is where we do most of our hunting.”

“Dan, you should stick to fishing. We are hatching a policy directive about land, but it has more to do with demographics than elk hunting. So much of your land out here originally belonged to Spain, if we cede some of it back, there’s no way we lose the Hispanic vote in 2012. Damn! You caught another fish?”

“How about wolves? Are we really going to get to hunt them this fall?”

“Hey! I got a bite. No, wait, that was the bottom of the river. Wolves? You guys out here have a real problem with those beautiful animals. Look at it from my perspective: if we can keep this wolf engine humming, then you won’t be so worried about public access. Or about guns. They’re such an elegant solution to so many problems.”

“Yeah, I guess we can all just learn how to fish.”

“That’s right. Just like me. Hey, look, I caught a fish!”

“That’s not a trout, Mr. President. It looks more like a sucker to me.”