A Passion for Steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Richard Olmstead, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,486
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    Last week, with power out and recovering from surgery, I had the time I needed to sit down with Dec Hogan's new book and read it from cover to cover. I'm sure many of you have seen it and admired the beautiful layout and color photos of places, fish, and flies. I want to encourage those of you who haven't read it to borrow a copy and spend some time with it.

    While I thought Dec's writing was good and some of it even insightful (I particularly liked the first chapter on the natural history of steelhead written from the perspective of a steelhead), the Foreward by Bill McMillan and the Afterward by Peter Soverel are what make the book worth the price of admission (if the wait list at the library is too long and you can't borrow your friend's copy). It is nice to see a book about fly fishing, and about steelhead in particular, where the message about the state of steelhead in nature is put up front.

    McMillan's Foreward provides a valuable context for the precarious state of wild steelhead in Washington, indeed, in western North America. Referring to his own passion for steelhead, he writes: "it is tempered by a profound sorrow of having lost something so great..." For those who have not been around long enough to have witnessed the dramatic decline in steelhead in recent decades, his description carries a powerful message, because it is so personal.

    Soverel's Afterward provides the perfect bookend to McMillan's Foreward. He puts the decline of wild steelhead into a historical perspective, showing how clearly human (mis-)management has directly resulted in this loss that creates such a "profound sorrow" for McMillan. He doesn't pull any punches in laying the blame where it belongs. Referring to the effect of steelhead management in western North America he says "the record is neither pretty nor hopeful. Absent dramatic changes in the way we manage steelhead, continued extinctions and reduced angling opportunity are the certain outcomes." He ends on a hopeful note by outlining a plan to most effectively salvage what we can before it is too late.

    Beg, borrow, or steal (not literally...) a copy of this book, even if you just read the Foreward and Afterward. Well, it's okay to ogle the pictures, too.

    ... and if you know a steelheader who still needs a christmas gift...

    Merry Christmas,
  2. Hal Eckert Member

    Posts: 615
    West GLs
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    Its under my Xmas tree right now for me!

    Will give it a read over the holiday.



  3. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,476
    Your City ,State
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    I haven't finished reading it yet. It's nearly finished, and I set it aside a few weeks ago, and other things have been stacked on top of it. I hope to return to it soon.

    It's quite a good book. Unfortunately the biological chapter is not completely accurate, but I suppose it's close enough under "literary license."
  4. !chawycha! Member

    Posts: 66
    Poulsbo, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Just opened it as my Christmas present:) I cannot wait to read it.
  5. Will Atlas Guest

    Posts: 0
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    my girlfriend bought it for me with the idea of giving it to me for x-mas. She was so excited about it, she couldnt wait, I've now read through it about 4 times. That was a month ago.
  6. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,486
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    I should say that I didn't know how much of the 'natural history' chapter was accurate, but it was a good read and a creative presentation. I'd be curious to know if there were any serious mistakes.