Essays on Fly Fishing
About the Book
A new collection of outdoor writing from one of fly fishing’s most popular essayists.
Drawn from 55 years of excessive obsession with trout, water, streams, and flies, this collection of essays from Canada’s most widely read fly-fishing author since Roderick Haig-Brown reveals the depth of engagement that this sport engenders. Poised and polished words reveal the flaws and virtues of humanity, the strength of Mother Nature, the beautiful mystery that is a wild trout, and the obsessed’s inexplicable need to outsmart a creature with a brain the size of a pea.
Fly fishing is considered perhaps the most reflective and graceful of outdoor pursuits, and author Jim McLennan agrees – for the most part. Trout Tracks includes pieces on fly-fishing people and fly-fishing places, plus stories of quiet successes and loud failures, in sum revealing the soul of “the quiet sport.”
You won’t learn from this book how to cast farther or tie a knot faster, but if you’ve ever fly fished – or if you want to – you’ll smile and understand more clearly the seduction of wild trout in wild places.
“Trout Tracks is a literary delight with Jim McLennan’s well-crafted prose, and also a visual treat with the stunning artwork provided by Lynda, his wife and fly-fishing partner. They have combined their God-given talents into a truly wonderful project, a seminal work honouring fly fishing and life itself. Always eager to acknowledge the critical role played by many people and experiences in helping to shape his approach to fly fishing, Jim does that in his inimitable self- deprecating style. He melds them all together into a touching and sensitive tribute to fly fishing – and how it has influenced his life. This is a book Jim McLennan needed to write. Fly fishers need this book.” —Bruce Masterman, award-winning journalist, columnist and magazine writer, author of Paradise Preserved: The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area; Heading Out: A Celebration of the Great Outdoors in Calgary and Southern Alberta; and One Last Cast: Reflections of an Outdoor Life
“It’s always a pleasure reading Jim McLennan’s writing, but his latest book, Trout Tracks, is especially noteworthy. In this collection of essays, Jim shares even more than his usual golden nuggets of wit and reflection. Through colourful archives he leads his reader beyond the river, into the meandering timeline and journey of a passionate angler.” —April Vokey, fishing guide, magazine writer (Fly Fisherman, Fly Rod & Reel, Fly Fusion); TV personality (Outdoor Channel’s Buccaneers and Bones series, 60 Minutes Sports, The Steve Harvey Show, Discovery Channel’s Refined, Discovery/OLN’s Close Up Kings and WFN’s Fly Nation TV; podcaster (Anchored) and host of ShoreLines with April Vokey on the World Fishing Network.
“Trout Tracks proves once again that Jim McLennan is a damn fine writer. His essays are studies of life’s greatest pleasures—relationships, love of the land, a fascination with other creatures, a sense of place, and occasional moments of triumph—all told through the lens of a passionate fly fisherman. McLennan wanders from humor to philosophy as easily as he moves from pool to pool. This is a collection of stories that should belong on every angler’s bookshelf.” —Ryan Sparks, Strung magazine
“I’ve been a fan of Jim McLennan’s ever since I first read him in Fly Fisherman magazine in the late 1980s. He produced standout work back then, and today he’s even better. If you love fly fishing, or one day want to write about it, get this book. Imbued with a subtle lyricism, and that easy, self-deprecating style that sets McLennan apart from his peers, Trout Tracks is a treasure.” —Dana Sturn, editor-at-large of FFI Magazine and founder of the forum speypages.com
“I realized soon after I started reading Jim McLennan’s newest book, Trout Tracks, that I had a big smile on my face, and a laugh even popped out now and then. It was like the same reaction I have when a nice trout takes my fly. In fact, reading Trout Tracks is like taking off on a great fishing trip: lots of wonderful discoveries along the way, and then, when it’s over, you can’t stop thinking about how much fun you had!” —Rick Hafele, author of Nymph-Fishing Rivers & Streams and Rick Hafele’s Favorite Fly Patterns And How To Fish Them, as well as co-author of Seasons for Trout and Tactics for Trout
“Reading Trout Tracks was a truly enjoyable experience. Many of Jim McLennan’s essays brought back similar memories I have had during my fly fishing journey. Interspersed through these stories are subtle yet valuable tips on becoming a better angler and thoughts about why we fly fish: how we can spend so much time on the water, regardless of fishing success, and still have a complete and satisfying day. This book will resonate with all anglers regardless of experience. Rereading it over the coming years will not only highlight those special moments in your own fly fishing but increase your awareness and appreciation of our valued fisheries resources.” —Brian Chan, fisheries biologist, video producer (Expert Techniques for Stillwater Fly Fishing), lecturer, angling guide, co-host of The New Fly Fisher Show and co-author with Skip Morris of Morris & Chan on Fly Fishing Trout Lakes
“Trout Tracks is pure McLennan. Peppered with fly fishing knowledge acquired through lifelong experience, this book displays an honesty not often seen in stories about oneself. Jim has blessed his writing with an angler’s philosophy and worldview. Reading it calls us to the wild places and the fish we love so much.” —Gary Borger, author, fly fishing blogger and video instructor
“The art of good writing is in making a reader forget they are actually reading. Jim McLennan is a very good writer. The art of fishing is… well, it’s what Jim has been doing for decades, from his home base in foothills Alberta to the farthest trout streams of the world. And the art of Lynda McLennan takes Trout Tracks from a great book to a truly exceptional one. It may be a bit of a cliche, but if you can only buy one book on fly fishing, trout and streams, this is the book you want. It is authoritative, relaxed and inspiring. The only thing better would be a friendly conversation with Jim beside a happy trout stream. But really, that’s exactly what this fine book is.” —Kevin van Tighem, author of Wild Roses Are Worth It, Our Place, Heart Waters, The Homeward Wolf and Bears Without Fear