Of Good Running Water, Native Trout, and the Remains of Wilderness
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 Trekking and fishing what's left of the wilderness of the American West, Montgomery pronounces ``elegies for dead rivers'' but is hopeful for the ``few special trout left'' in the remote, unsullied streams of the high country. The last of the real West ``is more vertical than horizontal,'' writes Montgomery (The Way of the Trout, 1991): It's found in the mountains, at least a mile above sea level. Rivers such as the East Fork of the Bitterroot in Montana have been disfigured and diverted to provide rich grazing land. But even the East Fork has a tiny, unaltered tributary so conspicuously untouched that Montgomery ``can hardly bear to look at it anymore.'' As he traverses the West, he visits Utah's Green River and the Hoodoo Creek in Wyoming; crisscrosses the Lewis and Clark Trail in Montana; studies the ``mud volcanoes'' on the banks of the Yellowstone; hunts for arrowheads in Harney County, Oreg., near Steens Mountain; scorns the tourism of Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and fishes the Snake River ``to make the acquaintance of another wild western trout,'' an unclassified cutthroat. His digressions on the history of certain areas will prove of more interest to some than his often uninspired fishing sequences. He pauses for an eloquent reflection on the writer C.E.S. Wood, who, as aide-de-camp to Gen. O.O. Howard during his campaign against the Nez Perce, transcribed- -or perhaps authored--Chief Joseph's famous ``I Will Fight No More Forever'' speech. Montgomery also examines Gen. George Crook's frustrating battle at Rosebud Creek, when he simply ``called it a day...went back to Big Goose Creek, and started fishing'' even as Custer engaged the Sioux in a more famous battle. Interesting and informative, but Montgomery's prose often lacks the zest that informs the best nature writing. (6 line drawings, not seen)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-671-79286-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1995


NonfictionJEFFERSON AND THE GUN-MEN by M.R. Montgomery
by M.R. Montgomery
NonfictionTHE WAY OF THE TROUT by M.R. Montgomery
by M.R. Montgomery