mayfly graphic for book review on coastal cutthroat trout Fly fishing book reviews 

Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout
Les Johnson
Softbound:   144 pages.
Frank Amato Publications   $29.95
ISBN  1-57188-333-9
Fly-fishing coastal cutthroat trout by les johnson

The king of cutts is at it again. Les Johnson has written a remarkable treatise on our beloved coastal trout. This book is no rework of his earlier work on cutthroat, but an entirely different treatment. Whether you are a freshwater fisher or more inclined toward the salt, you'll find everything you need to, not only fish for cutts, but to also acquire a fresh appreciation for the West's own Onchrhynchus clarki clarki.

It is refreshing to read an author who isn't waxing ecstatically about fishing gear, flies, favorite holes, and tales of larger-than-life fish. Instead, Johnson focuses on the history and natural history of cutthroat trout in the drainages of California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. To be sure, there are chapters on gear and strategy, but they are presented with a perspective toward purpose and history. For example, the chapter on fly patterns has numerous photos of flies with words from their creators or from others who have an intimate knowledge of the history and purpose of specific patterns.  These flies aren't just practical fishing lures. Johnson brings out the importance of these artifacts in the history of our coastal fishery.

In this time of extravagant gear matched only by extravagant prices, it is very encouraging to read Johnson's balanced approach toward the essentials. Johnson appreciates expensive bar stock aluminum reels, but will quickly tell you that specific models under $100 made of plastic and graphite will serve novices and experts alike. 

Johnson's vast knowledge and deep respect for this trout, its environment, and the history of the fish's stress and perseverance pervade the book. In this renaissance time of large, heavy fishing books about large heavy fish, it's enlightening to be reminded of our smaller "cult" species that can delightfully fill out our fishing days.

--Toney J. Sisk


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