I have a sizable collection of fly fishing books. Sometimes I’ll review one. I’ll keep it under 500 words. Any longer and you should just go read the book. Expect slander, personal opinion, and unbridled honesty. I like both books and fly fishing too much to be nice.
By Sam Larson
If someone told me that one of their goals as an angler was to catch every variety of cutthroat trout I would encourage them to pursue that. It seems like a great goal, and like the very best goals it would involve travel, research, personal growth, and the opportunity to see and do things that you just wouldn’t get a chance to if you never pursued it. Turns out M.R. Montgomery already made that pledge, followed through on it, and wrote a book about it. It’s really just gravy that it happens to be a very good book.
I liked this book a lot. The core plot has enough adventure and romance in it to keep a reader interested, and the writing is polished, well-structured, and generally reads easily. Oddly, among all the tales of trout and the places they inhabit I found that some of the more compelling content related to Montgomery’s habit of hunting for stone arrowheads. I never thought that something like that could be interesting but I suppose that it dovetails neatly with our shared quest for trout. If you are an experienced hunter for stone arrowheads then you, much like an angler, know generally the kinds of places such things could be found, what conditions are likely to make your hunt more successful, and that there’s a certain amount of hope involved in the enterprise. Just because it looks like the right spot, the conditions are right, and you bring a double armful of experience and knowledge to the table doesn’t mean that you’ll find either trout or arrowheads. The lack of certainty in the enterprise, the fact that all things being equal it might not work out the next time, is a big part of what keeps me coming back and engaging with the sport. There’s always something new to learn and some deeper understanding that you can gain.
I loved the varied places that M.R. Montgomery went in search of cutthroat trout. I’ve long known that the various kinds of cutts were left in their respective home waters as gelology and a few ice ages stranded them in various parts of the country, but the sheer variety of where he found these fish is impressive. High mountain desert, alpine forest above the Great Salt Flat, Native American reservations in New Mexico, and so on.
I really liked this book and it’s worth a read. Whenever I think about it M.R. Montgomery’s cutthroat project makes me want to get in the car and just go see what’s out there.