THE WAY OF THE TROUT by M.R. Montgomery


An Essay on Anglers, Wild Fish, and Running Water
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 After 40 years of passionate interest in trout and fly- fishing, Montgomery (Saying Goodbye, 1989; In Search of L.L. Bean, 1984) has learned a great deal about the subject--and here he seems hellbent on sharing all of his vast savvy and experience. Fly-fishermen, Montgomery writes, ``are peculiar'' among outdoorsmen in that they are almost all interested in the history of the sport. Most have at least passing knowledge of the works of Izaak Walton, Charles Cotton, and Richard Bowkler, perhaps because of the sport's technical continuity and long history of recorded how-to mania: Aelian's third-century commentary discusses tying artificial flies. Though the study of the trout itself is of equal import to Montgomery, he offers his own extensive catalogue of observations and meticulously describes the types and functions of flies and how and what they are mode of: Blue Dun flies, caddis, Blue-Winged Olives, mayflies and others, all fabricated with materials like mole fur, pig's ``wool,'' and the ``ultimate or best fur,'' which ``is clipped from near the urine-stained private parts of'' While dry flies are his primary concern, he also has something to say about maggots, minnows, and fluorescent salmon eggs. His fishing experiences take him from Lobster Creek in Oregon to the Bitterroot in Montana to the Derwent River in Charsworth, England, a stream so steeped in tradition that wading is prohibited but benches are provided along the shore. His ``countryside of dreams,'' however, is the Bighorn Valley, the ``dry side'' of the Rocky Mountains. Developing interests in rock-hunting and nature-watching have, over the years, become as important to Montgomery as his lifelong fishing passion, but ``Every year fishing takes me further from the river.'' Will reward patient aficionados; perhaps tiresome for others. (Drawings by Katherine Brown-Wing--a few seen.)

Pub Date: May 14th, 1991
ISBN: 0-394-58063-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1991


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