WATER MARKS: THIRTY YEARS OF FLY-FISHING INSIGHT
Author: Jim McLennan
Publisher: FUSION BOOKS, Jun 2008
Fly-fishing literature at its best; here are the reasons why Jim McLennan became a prominent voice for a fly-angling generation: his deep understanding of key issues, unsurpassed knowledge of fishing techniques, humble realization of an anglers limitations, & passion for his pastime. By reading, you will become a more knowledgeable fly angler, & will undoubtedly need to create a little extra space on your bookshelf amongst the fly-angling classics. Color photos t/out by Jim & Lynda McLennan; 6x9 inches, 206 pgs.
Dimpled throughout this collection are the reasons why Jim McLennan became a prominent voice for a fly-angling generation: his deep understanding of key issues, unsurpassed knowledge of fishing techniques, humble realization of an anglers limitations, and passion for his pastime. He takes interested fly fishermen along with him as he chases answers to fly-fishing questions. He doesnt always find what hes looking for, but he always finds something. In his approach to fly fishing, McLennan is scientific, yet he maintains the mystical and poetic nature that is so often associated with casting a fly to a rising trout.
His writing voice is fluid, transparent, confident, intelligent, and humble. And to know him on the page is to experience a day with him on the water. Take the time to read through McLennans best articles from the past thirty years and drift the Bow with him as he casts Blue-winged Olives and Pale Morning Duns to oversized rainbows. Walk the banks with him as he shares his surprising thoughts on catch-and-release and the importance of an angling off-season. And live a fly-fishing dream with him as he goes sight fishing for massive browns in New Zealand with a guide who has forsaken all to pursue a less complicated life.
After reading through the book you will become a more knowledgeable fly angler, and you will undoubtedly need to create a little extra space on your bookshelf amongst the fly-angling classics. Water Marks is fly-fishing literature at its best.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Jim and Lynda McLennan began fly fishing together in the 1970s. Since then the McLennans have been teaching fly fishing, writing about fly fishing, photographing fly fishing, and making presentations about fly fishing around Alberta and beyond.
Lynda McLennan, photographer for for some of the photos, teaches fly fishing schools for men and women, and was a founding director of Casting for Life. Lynda McLennan is a skilled photographer, and her work has appeared in numerous outdoor magazines, including Grays Sporting Journal and The Canadian Fly Fisher.
Jim McLennan was one of the original fly-fishing guides on Albertas Bow River, and was one of the people who brought Trout Unlimited to Alberta in the 1970s. Jim McLennan's magazine articles appear regularly in fly fishing magazines including Fly Fisherman, Fly Fishing and Tying Journal, Northwest Fly Fishing, Fly Fusion, Grays Sporting Journal and others. Jim McLennan is the author of four fly-fishing books: Trout Streams of Alberta, Blue Ribbon Bow, Fly Fishing Western Trout Streams, and Water Marks, and is a frequent speaker at fly fishing shows and clubs.
Perhaps because shes an only child, my daughter has been subjected to an excessive amount of urging into a lifestyle of fishing and hunting. When she was born our friends made all the usual jokes, asking when shed get her first fly rod and what size waders she needed. The friends laughed, but I didnt, probably because it was closer to the truth than anybody realized. Above my
desk is a snapshot of a 5 month-old baby sitting on her mothers knee. Her mother is wearing waders and a fishing hat, and is sitting in a driftboat. This was not our daughters first float trip; it was her first post natal float trip. McLennan Fly Fishing ~ Jim & Lynda McLennan ~ McLennan Fly Fishing
We showed Deanna how to cast with a Snoopy rod and reel in the backyard when she was about four, and shortly thereafter she began reeling in fish that Lynda or I hooked at a small pond near home. Eventually she learned to stop cranking the reel before the rod-tip poked the fish on the forehead. When she was seven or eight she entered the difficult stage when kids want to use a fly rod like their parents, but arent yet strong enough to cast with a fly rod. We maneuvered our way through this period by appointing her as our teams official fish-netter and fish-releaser, which she viewed as important jobs, and which satisfied her, more or less, until she was able to handle a fly rod on her own.
She caught her first fish with a fly rod on a rainy float trip in British Columbia when she was nine years old, and I recall clearly a few years later watching her hook, land, and release a number of westslope cutthroats from a side channel on the Elk River. A couple of years after that she stalked, hooked and landed her first big Bow River rainbow on a dry fly.
Deanna was learning things through these years, but I was too. Most important for me was the realization that it would be very easy to push too hard. Though inside I hoped shed become the next Joan Wulff, or the first female guide on the Bow River, or at least would marry a guy who fished with dry flies and hunted with pointing dogs, I sensed that I could drive my daughter away from fishing and hunting if I forced them upon her. Quite early I learned that every session of fishing should be accompanied by equal time for rock-throwing or bug-watching, and in some ways that hasnt changed much.
Last summer, when she was 16, we went on a father-and-daughter fishing trip. For two days we hiked along a brown trout stream that flows through a friends land in the western Alberta foothills. Fishing was - well, fishing. There wasnt much activity except for a brief, but stellar episode with a good-sized brown trout and some pale morning duns. It took place at a shady bend in the stream where we could see the fish in the water. The fish was holding just under the surface beside a fallen spruce tree and was taking every bug that drifted over. On the third cast Deannas fly dropped just behind the trout. The fish must have heard the fly land, for it made an immediate pirouette and began to home in, coming right toward us. When the fish opened its mouth to take the fly, it was about 15 feet away, and we could see right down into its white gullet. We landed, photographed, and released the fish, and giggled about the dramatic way it came to the fly.
When we got home Deanna told her mother that wed had a great time on our trip, that our friends cabin on the creek was really neat, and that she really liked watching the beaver and the frog (What beaver? What frog? I thought). Then, not quite as an afterthought, but in obvious deference to her father, she added and the fishing was pretty good too.
I have a theory about obsession: that its existence can be confirmed by the frequency with which you think about something when youre not doing it. By this definition, Im obsessed with hunting and fishing. Deanna is not. She likes them, she is quite skilled at them, but her life doesnt revolve around them. If she is obsessed, it is with other things, some which might come from her parents like her love of music and words, for instance and others, like her passion for dance, which seem to have spontaneously appeared from the air. I have learned not to be disappointed with this. I have accepted the possibility, remote as it seems, that these other things could be as fascinating and rewarding and worthwhile to other people as fishing and hunting are to me.
Through most of her youth Deanna seemed pretty content to hang out with her parents. We probably did an unusual number of activities together, of both a sporting and non-sporting nature. But late last summer when we were planning a family fishing holiday to the Missouri River in Montana, Deanna began to feel lifes pull toward other things. There was discussion about whether she would come with us or stay home and spend time with her friends. In the end we convinced her to come, and the trip was a success, but Lynda and I got the distinct sense that the next decision about her participation in such a trip would not be not be ours to make.
We have reached the point where my ability to stir a passion within my daughter for hunting and fishing (and likely for anything else) has ceased. If it isnt in there now, its too late to put it in. Her future interest in and pursuit of these things are beyond my control. A friend wise in these matters once told me that all we can do is introduce our kids to fishing and shooting when theyre young, and then let them live their lives. We shouldnt be surprised if they leave these sports behind while theyre focused on schooling, careers, and spouses. But if they were introduced to field sports early, they are likely to come back to them someday, and they might bring our grandchildren with them when they do.
This fall we arranged for Deanna to skip an afternoon of school so she could go bird hunting with me. She missed a great chance at a cock pheasant because she forgot to take the safety off, and on the way back to the car we startled a huge mule deer buck at close range. On the drive home, after Id teased her sufficiently about missing the pheasant, she said, Theres always interesting stuff going on out here, isnt there?
I think shell be all right.