Something Fishy in Montana

Belgrade, Montana - Known more for his devotion to basketball and golf, President Obama is trying his hand at the classic Western sport of fly-fishing. Mr. Obama will cast a line into cold Montana waters at O'Dell Creek Ranch.

A White House official says deputy chief of staff Jim Messina will be the president's guide for a few hours of trout fishing. Messina, who grew up in Montana and Idaho, had been angling for an opportunity to show the president the wonders of the great outdoors. It will be the president's first opportunity to use a fly-fishing rig that he received as a birthday present from friends. An aide says while the president has fished in the past, he's not an avid fisherman.

Mr. Obama and his fishing party will hope for luck in an area known for fighting Rainbows, Cutthroats and other trout varieties. The National Park Service says nearby Yellowstone National Park is home to 16 species of fish. Spokesman Robert Gibbs says Mr. Obama will practice "catch and release."

It's a rare opportunity for the president to escape what he has described as the "container" that goes with his office.

With or without bragging rights to a catch, a few hours gazing at the crystal clear waters that lure thousands of people to "Big Sky Country" could provide a welcome respite from the health care reform debate and other presidential pressures.

That prospect left one White House aide jokingly wondering if Mr. Obama would contribute to the tranquility needed for a successful fishing expedition by switching his Blackberry to silent mode.

Peter Maer is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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