The lure of fly-fishing by a delightful essayist who's becoming one of the most popular and respected angling writers in the country. A resident of Longmont, Colorado, Gierach (Even Brook Trout Get the Blues, 1992; Sex, Death and Fly-Fishing, 1990) does most of his fishing in the streams and rivers of the Rocky Mountains. He and a few friends follow one such stream to 11,000 feet above sea level to ""find and fish a certain alpine lake"" reputed to have large cutthroat trout. They wandered, he says, for six or seven miles, not fishing the right lake until after they'd spent the day joyously casting on a scenic pond ""as sterile as a stone toilet bowl."" On yet another Colorado pond, Gierach tries to ignore a ""purplish-black, almost eggplant-colored"" thundercloud, settling for an afternoon in the truck, watching the bass rise in the rain: ""When you have to hold your hat with one hand and dodge your streamer fly, it's too windy."" He describes a long-awaited trip to Scotland in quest of Atlantic salmon; fishing a ""private river,"" he and his friends ""drank the good whiskey they don't export to America and, of course, our party of five fished hard for six days and caught one fish among us."" In 1991 Gierach participated in the First Annual Colorado Fly-Casting Open tournament -- his first, and last, try at ""competitive fishing"" -- during which he placed ""dead third and came very close to wishing ill on a friend,"" but stopped short of hoping for that friend to ""slip on a wet rock and break his casting arm."" He happily recounts his pursuit of a ""large, fat rainbow"" during a Pale Morning Dun mayfly hatch on a catch-and-release local river. Defiantly floating in a hard-to-cast-to pool about four yards square, the fish eluded Gierach for two days, but the angler remembers it as a time when he summoned all his skill and knowledge and got ""everything right."" Informative and sassy, these well-crafted gems sparkle even in a genre known for quality writing.