Fishing Books by John Gierach


It’s nice to curl up with a good buck-- (I actually mis-typed that, so I had to leave it), I mean book this time of year.

I was at the bookstore the other day and was surprised to see a book by an author I enjoy reading, John Gierach, sitting on the table right in front of me. It was on clearance at only four dollars and ninety-eight cents, so I couldn‘t pass it up.

John Gierach is a fisherman and a writer. He lives a dream life, it seems. A significant amount of his time is spent fishing for the different species of trout in various places. He sometimes fishes the best trout waters in the world, but mainly fishes the streams near his home in Larimer County, Colorado (who am I to say they aren’t the best trout waters in the world).

When he is not fishing he is writing about fishing, which he does very well. Reportedly, he is also a very, very good fisherman. I like the humor in his writing. Granted, he does use some off-colored language and humor occasionally (be hereby warned), so it’s not for everyone.

John is a real down-to-earth kind of guy and unapologetic when it comes to his romanticism and the effects of what I describe as grumpy-old-man syndrome. He prefers road trips to flying and rather than fishing for mammoth trout in the most exotic places, he prefers fly fishing for lots of medium-sized trout. Now, I can kind of relate to that, although I am starting to see some of the symptoms of “steelhead fever” after finally catching a steelhead on the Willamette River this year (2009).

Anyways, back to the topic at hand… The man (John) doesn’t even have a cell phone. In his book, “Fool’s Paradise,” he writes, “I don’t own one myself, and when someone asks ‘How can I reach you?’ I thoroughly enjoy saying “You can’t; I’ll be fishing.” I thought this was hilarious, but not only that, it made me recall countless memories of being on the river or lake, trying to catch some fish before I had to head home, and being interrupted by an obnoxious digital rendition of some classic song, coming from my pocket.

So, I guess part of the attraction of John’s books is his well defined character. Add that to his potent introspection and philosophical explanations of the alluring sport of fly fishing and life, liberty and the need for less politicians, and you have a guaranteed winner. And, this all comes from a guy who is hard to identify as a conservative, liberal, both of the above, or none of the above. Or, maybe I just don’t understand politics well enough to know the difference.

Below is a list of some of the books John Gierach has authored:

Trout Bum
Even Brook Trout Get the Blues
The View from Rat Lake
Where the Trout Are All as Long as Your Leg
Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing
Fly-fishing Small Streams
Fly-fishing the High Country
Still Life with Brook Trout
Standing in a River Waving a Stick
Dances with Trout
Fishing Bamboo
Another Lousy Day in Paradise
At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman
Good Flies: Favorite Trout Patterns and How They Got That Way
Signs of Life
Death Taxes And Leaky Waders: A John Gierach Fly Fishing Treasury
Fool's Paradise
The Fly Fishing Anthology (with Mallory Burton and Ernest Hemingway)

In addition to these books, John Gierach has written for Gray’s Sporting Journal, Field and Stream, and Fly, Rod, and Reel magazines. He also writes columns for the Longmont Daily Times, the Redstone Review and a monthly column for The New York Times.

I’d say Mr. Gierach has done quite well for himself, considering he “never thought [he’d] become a fishing writer,” but “started writing about fishing because [he] was doing a lot of fishing anyway.” He is now described by Paul Guernsey, the editor of Fly, Rod, and Reel magazine, as “the angling voice of his generation.”

He certainly is a very interesting read and seems to be a very genuine old chap; I will grant him that. And, through his writing, in some inexplicable way, his fishing becomes my fishing.

I know there are lots more good hunting and fishing authors out there… Post a comment and tell me about some of your favorites.

Tight Lines! - nimrod243

Some of the information obtained for this article was obtained from an article by Tom Bie, MidCurrent, Fly Fishing At It’s Best ( and WikipediA, The Free Encyclopedia.


  1. Good job, Brigham.
    I'll look for the book myself.
    Hope all is well there in the emerald country.

  2. OK, I'm ready to go pick up one of those books. I think I've heard of some of them. I like Steve Raymond's books on fly fishing. I know you've read them. Thanks for the tip on some good reading. jcb

  3. I've wandered over from the OBS website to snoop around~ I've read one of Johns books and it was enjoyable. I would consider him a peoples person, someone we can all relate to.
    Your entry about him reminds me I should seek out another of his books.


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