Passionate angler Gierach (No Shortage of Good Days, 2012, etc.) once again trolls for like-minded readers.
In his 17th book on fishing, it remains “all about the fish and the beautiful places they live.” Gierach tells of going after elusive aquatic wildlife with rod and reel, lure and spoon, hook and hackle in such attractive precincts as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wyoming’s North Platte, remote Labrador and frigid Manitoba, as well as at home in Colorado. Serious camping with knowledgeable outfitters, erudite guides, stoic lodge keepers and proficient companions fills his trip logs. The author also provides notes on fishing etiquette and stream hydrology, and he seems to remember every cast and every one that got away. He writes convincingly of trying to outwit cutthroats, rainbows and steelhead. The writer’s single-minded devotion to his fisherman’s M.O. in those pretty mountain streams naturally won’t mean much to piscatorial agnostics who never had the pleasure of outsmarting a trout in its home environs. With rhapsodic prose about “a small hare’s ear and partridge soft hackle,” “fifty-pound fluorocarbon shock tippets,” and “an old Burkheimer rod loaded with a 550-grain Skagit head, a two-foot cheater, ten feet of T-14 sink tip and a four-inch-long Intruder fly with big lead eyes,” all this is reserved for the legions of devout anglers. Certainly, there are many sweet, folksy passages on ichthyology and the cultural anthropology of those folks who take so happily to the outdoor life, yet the book remains primarily a fisherman’s testimony to the faithful. “Even on those rare days when you trudge off to a trout stream not so much because you want to, but because your livelihood depends on it,” writes Gierach, “you have a better day at the office than most.”
Elegiac tribute to the elusive art and ineffable pleasure of fly-fishing, with plenty of information about how it’s done by true practitioners.