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Georgia Trout’s Journey

5 a.m.
Terry and Ruth Bramlett begin harvesting trout every morning—including today, a Wednesday—before dawn. Tucked deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains down a gravel road not far from Suches, Georgia, their home sits among a series of interlocking fish ponds they call Bramlett’s Trout Farm. A spring-fed creek courses down from the mountain and flows through one pond to the next, green grass sprouting at the edges, a few leaves floating along the surface. The work moves swiftly; the Bramletts have been hatching, feeding, and culling trout in these ponds for thirty-two years. They corral a school of fish into a corner and work side by side, pulling trout from the water with a pair of nets that could be used to skim a swimming pool. Their ponds yield half a million trout each year. As day breaks over the ridge, the fish jump from the water, scales iridescent in the sunlight.

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