A storyteller and avid fly fisherman, Jeff Metcalf is, for compelling personal reasons, an enhanced observer of the human condition, who finds himself often in the streams of the American West. Not only rivers run through his essays, his cancer does too. But so do camaraderie, adventures, reveling in nature and outdoor devotions, and the sheer bliss of focused engagement with the fish and the cast. Metcalf’s keenly observed companions are river guides, small-town locals, academics, and other city folk, all like him among those who run to the river for solace and joy.
These essays are much more than fish stories; they reveal the community and communion of fishing and the bonds to place the author nurtured through it. Whether he recalls carousing and tale-swapping with friends or excellence found through the challenge of the cast, Metcalf’s words, sometimes roiling and turbulent, sometimes calm and reflective, like a western river, vividly convey the pull of the steelhead and the fight for survival. Whether or not you fish, Metcalf’s sharp-eyed, open and honest look at life will draw you in.
"These waters have been my home, and I fish them more than most. In truth, they have saved my life on more than a few occasions. I seek refuge in the quiet solitude of rivers, and in dark hours of my life—including this particular year—I need desperately to be fly-fishing." —From the book
“Many of us probably would be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect.”-Norman Maclean
Though Maclean writes of an age-old focus of all anglers—the day’s catch—he may as well be speaking to another, deeper accomplishment of the best fishermen and fisherwomen: the preservation of natural resources.
Backcasts celebrates this centuries-old confluence of fly fishing and conservation. However religious, however patiently spiritual the tying and casting of the fly may be, no angler wishes to wade into rivers of industrial runoff or cast into waters devoid of fish or full of invasive species like the Asian carp. So it comes as no surprise that those who fish have long played an active, foundational role in the preservation, management, and restoration of the world’s coldwater fisheries. With sections covering the history of fly fishing; the sport’s global evolution, from the rivers of South Africa to Japan; the journeys of both native and nonnative trout; and the work of conservation organizations such as the Federation of Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited, Backcasts casts wide.
Highlighting the historical significance of outdoor recreation and sports to conservation in a collection important for fly anglers and scholars of fisheries ecology, conservation history, and environmental ethics, Backcasts explores both the problems anglers and their organizations face and how they might serve as models of conservation—in the individual trout streams, watersheds, and landscapes through which these waters flow.
Drawing on years of conservation and angling experience, Steve Born and Jeff Mayers tell you about great fishing opportunities unique to Wisconsin—1,000 miles of spring creeks, the amazing nocturnal Hex hatch, and big salmonids in the Great Lakes tributaries. They profile twenty of Wisconsin’s finest streams—from the bucolic Green River in the southwest to the historic and wild Bois Brule in the north.
This new edition includes updates throughout, new photos, and a new chapter detailing improvements in fishing opportunities since the mid-1990s but warning of the looming threats to coldwater fisheries.
• Profiles of the state’s twenty finest trout streams and maps to find them
• “Don’t miss” fishing opportunities
• Sound advice for anglers—from beginner to expert
• Tactics you can use to catch more trout
• Conservation projects that have helped trout survive
• A history of Wisconsin’s trout-fishing and conservation heritage
• A guide to trout foods
• Suggestions of helpful organizations, tourism and conservation offices, books, magazines, videos, and websites
Exploring Wisconsin Trout Streams is a treat for novice and veteran anglers alike. Drawing on years of conservation and angling experience, Steve Born, Jeff Mayers, Andy Morton, and Bill Sonzogni tell you about great fishing opportunities unique to Wisconsin—1,000 miles of spring creeks, the amazing nocturnal Hex hatch, and big salmonids in the Great Lakes tributaries.
They profile twenty of Wisconsin’s finest streams—from the bucolic Green River in the southwest to the historic and wild Bois Brule in the north. For each stream, the authors share their fishing experiences, supplemented by detailed maps and descriptions of the stream’s location and natural setting, conservation history, angling opportunities and advice, nearby facilities, including choice places to eat and sleep, and other local fishing sites. Reflecting the state’s preeminent role in the nation’s trout-angling and conservation heritage, every chapter emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship. Exploring Wisconsin Trout Streams shares ways to get the most out of your angling adventure while preserving Wisconsin’s beautiful streams.
*Profiles of the state's 20 finest trout streams and maps to find them
*"Don't miss" fishing opportunities
*Sound advice for anglers—from beginner to expert
*Tactics you can use to catch more trout
*Conservation projects that have helped trout survive
*A history of Wisconsin's trout-fishing and conservation heritage
*A guide to trout foods
*Choice places to eat and sleep
*Suggestions of helpful organizations, tourism and conservation offices, books, magazines, videos, and internet web sites
*Four-color cover / jacket
Four essential questions: Why does one fish? How should one properly fish? What relations are created in fishing? And what effects does fishing have on the future? Haunted by Waters is a self-examination by the author as he constructs his own narrative and tries to answer these questions for himself. But it is also a thorough examination of the answers he uncovers in the course of reading what's been written on the subject.
As his own story unfolds, Mark Browning analyzes angling literature from the Bible to Norman Maclean, always bringing his inquiry back to the same source: the enigma of this sport.
Haunted by Waters is an exploration of the apparent compulsion of those who fish not only to read about the sport, but to write about it as well. Mark Browning's personal account as a fly fisherman and his perspective as a critic make him uniquely qualified to navigate these waters.
A River Runs Through It
Norman Maclean University of Chicago Press, 1989 Library of Congress PS3563.A317993R58 1989 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
From its first magnificent sentence, "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing", to the last, "I am haunted by waters", A River Runs Through It is an American classic.
Based on Norman Maclean's childhood experiences, A River Runs Through It has established itself as one of the most moving stories of our time; it captivates readers with vivid descriptions of life along Montana's Big Blackfoot River and its near magical blend of fly fishing with the troubling affections of the heart.
This handsome edition is designed and illustrated by Barry Moser. There are thirteen two-color wood engravings.
"A masterpiece. . . . This is more than stunning fiction: It is a lyric record of a time and a life, shining with Maclean's special gift for calling the reader's attention to arts of all kinds—the arts that work in nature, in personality, in social intercourse, in fly-fishing."—Kenneth M. Pierce, Village Voice
"Wise, witty, wonderful, Maclean spins his tales, casts his flies, fishes the rivers and woods for what he remembers of his youth in the Rockies."—Barbara Bannon, Publishers Weekly
"Maclean's book is surely destined to be one of those rare memoirs that can be called a masterpiece. . . . Earthy, whimsical, authoritative, wise; it touches the heart without blushing and traces lasting images for the eye. . . . This book is a gem."—Nick Lyons, Fly-Fisherman
Just as Norman Maclean writes at the end of "A River Runs through It" that he is "haunted by waters," so have readers been haunted by his novella. A retired English professor who began writing fiction at the age of 70, Maclean produced what is now recognized as one of the classic American stories of the twentieth century. Originally published in 1976, A River Runs through It and Other Stories now celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, marked by this new edition that includes a foreword by Annie Proulx.
Maclean grew up in the western Rocky Mountains in the first decades of the twentieth century. As a young man he worked many summers in logging camps and for the United States Forest Service. The two novellas and short story in this collection are based on his own experiences—the experiences of a young man who found that life was only a step from art in its structures and beauty. The beauty he found was in reality, and so he leaves a careful record of what it was like to work in the woods when it was still a world of horse and hand and foot, without power saws, "cats," or four-wheel drives. Populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, and set in the small towns and surrounding trout streams and mountains of western Montana, the stories concern themselves with the complexities of fly fishing, logging, fighting forest fires, playing cribbage, and being a husband, a son, and a father.
By turns raunchy, poignant, caustic, and elegiac, these are superb tales which express, in Maclean's own words, "a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by." A first offering from a 70-year-old writer, the basis of a top-grossing movie, and the first original fiction published by the University of Chicago Press, A River Runs through It and Other Stories has sold more than a million copies. As Proulx writes in her foreword to this new edition, "In 1990 Norman Maclean died in body, but for hundreds of thousands of readers he will live as long as fish swim and books are made."
THE SAFETY OF DEEPER WATER
Tim Poland West Virginia University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3566.O419S34 2008 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
When Sandy Holston is on dry land, she’s nothing special: a nurse who wears her hair in a ponytail and prefers a fishing lure as an earring. But once she dons waders, picks up a fly rod, and steps into a river, she becomes a remarkable, elegant fisherwoman who’s at peace with the world.
After surviving her marriage to Vernon - her violent, incarcerated ex-husband - peace is just what Sandy needs. So she moves to Damascus, a small town on the Ripshin River, where she plans to enjoy the fishing and the solitude. Finally she is on the brink of a life she desires in a place she loves. But as the Ripshin’s trout mysteriously die off, and as Sandy grows closer to a reclusive neighbor who has a propensity for fishing naked, her plans are put in jeopardy. Will Sandy be able to find peace - in the river or out - once Vernon is released from prison and fulfills his promise to hunt her down?
Marcelo Gleiser has had a passion for science and fishing since he was a boy growing up on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Now a world-famous theoretical physicist with hundreds of scientific articles and several books of popular science to his credit, he felt it was time to connect with nature in less theoretical ways. After seeing a fly-fishing class on the Dartmouth College green, he decided to learn to fly-fish, a hobby, he says, that teaches humility. In The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected, Gleiser travels the world to scientific conferences, fishing wherever he goes. At each stop, he ponders how in the myriad ways physics informs the act of fishing; how, in its turn, fishing serves as a lens into nature’s inner workings; and how science engages with questions of meaning and spirituality, inspiring a sense of mystery and awe of the not yet known. Personal and engaging, The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected is a scientist’s tribute to nature, an affirmation of humanity’s deep connection with and debt to Earth, and an exploration of the meaning of existence, from atom to trout to cosmos.
Ranging from the riotously comic to the nostalgic, edgy, and suspenseful, these sixteen stories offer richly developed and engaging portraits of characters across the spectrum of life, all absorbed by the thrill of fly fishing. A marriage betrayal on a trout stream in the north woods, a young boy’s coming of age as a fly fisherman in the Black Hills of South Dakota, angler rage on the redfish flats of the Gulf of Mexico, an epic quest for bullish rainbows in Montana’s celebrated Bighorn, the quiet mystique of Wisconsin’s Brule River, the intensity of combat fishing on a salmon pool in the Pacific Northwest, these are just a few of the fascinating tales of fly fishing offered in Sunlit Riffles and Shadowed Runs. Rendered in sparkling prose that will resonate with every angler, this collection will also delight any reader who enjoys outdoor pastimes.
At the age of forty-two, Wayne Fields set upon a sort of pilgrimage when he waded the near twenty-mile stretch of a small river in northern Michigan with fly rod in hand. He emerged with a beautiful and poignant memoir, a meditation on families and aging, and a whimsical response to what time, and streams, and those we care about bring into our lives.