Native Trout Books
Sierra Fly Fishing Volume 2 with Guy Jeansby Halflight Productions
Experience the Golden Trout Wilderness from the Couch
Like going to a movie after first reading the book, the movie usually disappoints. For me at least, the movie lives up to expectations. And so you know, my expectations were not developed from any book on the Upper Kern River. I had the good fortune to experience the Golden Trout Wilderness with Guy Jean in 2006. As I sat and watched the DVD, with the memories of this wilderness and one-of-a-kind fishery firmly etched in memory, I couldn't help but feel I was re-living the entire five days from that summer. (My mental camera only slightly better than the digital one.)
What makes this destination DVD stand out from the rest you ask? Let's start with the cinematography. In a nutshell, it's clearly the work of a pro. All the scenes from start to finish are visually rich and interesting. The scenes essentially cover the trip starting from leaving the pack-station with the mule-train to working each of the varied fishing conditions on the upper Kern. I especially liked the way each scene transitioned with rotating shots of the two or three flies used. (Hint: you'll see Stimulators and Kern Emergers thoughout the show.)
Next, they blended the ideal amount of information and instruction without distracting you from the amazing visuals of Guy casting dries to wild, native rainbows. The upper Kern River really lends itself well to being captured on video. The stretches Guy fishes are 100% gin-clear. Most (if not all) the scenes, the camera renders the Kern River rainbows from above water. You get a nice look into their movements and to some extent their feeding patterns before Guy drifts a juicy, articifical over their head. As these wild fish are opportunistic feeders, it doesn't take more than one or two well-executed drifts to see them go ballistic.
Guy is the ideal host. Having fished with Guy Jean on many of the same runs depicted in this DVD, I felt like it was just business-as-usual. Guy takes a simple, no-nonsense approach to each situation. You get exactly the info you need to be successful without over talking it or over complicating it. Guy stalks these trout and knows their hang-outs like the upper Kern were his home water. And if you decide to take the punge and pack into the Golden Trout Wilderness, within a couple of days the Kern and it's rainbows will feel like a special-home.
Many Rivers to Cross: Of Good Running Water, Native Trout, and the Remains Of Wilderness
by M.r. Montgomery
Dry Wit And Dry Flies, October 5, 2006
M. R. Montgomery goes fishing. Well, to be precise the author goes in search of rare, hard-to-find, native trout. The places and the numbers of native fish he finds are as telling as the sharp observations he gives the reader.
I initially picked up the book on account of it's subject matter - fly fishing for native trout around the West. As I read the last couple of chapters I found myself less interested in the author's fishing activity and more drawn into his commentary and writing style. To do his writing justice, here's a small taste:
"... The only barriers to exotic fish in the West have always been Keep Out signs and geological obstacles like water-falls that prevented upstream invasion."
"... Anyone who thinks elk and mule deer are as destructive as cows ought to take a tour of the Trinchera (Steve Forbes ranch property). I believe we counted upward of thirty mule deer and a dozen elk in a three-mile drive. And the edges of Placer Creek were solid willows; the dry hay in the meadows was knee high."
"The federal government essentially owns southeastern Oregon. Private ranches, always concentrated at the few places with reliable water, have fallen one by one into the hands of the feds -- the only people in the high desert who always have cash in the bank."
"... At this writing, the Alvord cutthroat is presumably extinct, having had the misfortune to encounter the gregarious and prolific stocked rainbow trout in all its waters except, of course, those waters from which cows had already evicted it."
I selected these passages based on the crisp, dry wit of the author as much as the message he communicates. Anyone who reads the quarterly conservation newsletters - with the word "Trout" somewhere in the title - is familiar with the points he makes throughout the book. Planting non-native trout and herding cattle in and around streams spells trouble for the locals. The locals in this particular case being Alvord cutthroat and Rio Grande cutt's to name a few.
As someone who reads those quarterly newsletters, it's not always apparent why a barrier needs to be built across some stream, or why money needs to be raised to purchase private range along critical stream habitat. When you read through Many Rivers to Cross, the need to conserve and protect native fisheries comes into sharp focus. And that focus comes directly through the author's clear vision -- with a fly-rod in tow.