Article Easily the best book on fishing I've ever read . . .

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Kent Lufkin, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. I'm traveling and find myself with more time than usual for reading. Someone here once recommended 'An Entirely Synthetic Fish' by Anders Halverson and I heartily second that choice. For those interested in how sportfishing came to exist in this country, why brook trout and rainbows were and are so widely planted, and why nearly every state in the country relies so heavily on hatcheries, this slim book is utterly engaging.

    Here's an example:

    "The more the agencies stocked, the more demand there was for stocked fish, the more the agencies spent on growing fish. And it wasn't just the stocking programs that drove the hatchery boom. The hatcheries themselves were easily transformed into pork, a good way for politicians to show their constituients they could bring state or federal dollars to their district. Perhaps Barnard Shanks, a former director of the Washington Department of Fish and WIldlife, put it best. After his proposal to close several hatcheries was met with howls of protest, Shanks declared that a fish hatchery is "what you get if you cross a sacred cow with a military base."

  2. Sounds like a good read Kent, thanks for sharing.
  3. Just spent 2 hours reading it. Thanks Kent!
  4. I read this back in November. An overall fantastic read!

    I was a little dissapointed that the book only scratched the surface of the history of the McCloud River rainbows and Livingston Stone's adventures in (then) wild northern California. If you read through the historic reports of the US Fish Commission (1870s in particular) you get a sense of the danger that those pioneers faced from aboriginal populations. At one point Stone's hatchery crew were escorted by the US army as they spawned rainbows on the river bank. Not to quote verbatim, but I think this is where the phrase 'the natives were restless' comes from....
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  5. I finished it on the plane back from LA this afternoon. I'm still digesting all the implications.

    The sections that discuss how Colorado ignored whirling disease and released infected fish from their hatchery program anyway or the extent to which supposedly 'pure' westslope cutts are actually hybridized with rainbows and why that's not a good thing were particularly interesting.

    All these circle back to the simple conceit that as humans, we're so utterly convinced that we can do a better job than nature. I'm almost embarrassed to be a part of the process by being a 'consumer' of a deeply flawed state-sponsored recreational fishing industry.

  6. This arrogance (and let's be honest...its arrogance) is why we're in the situation we're in. We CAN'T do better than least not sustainably.
    Kent Lufkin and jimmydub like this.
  7. Sounds like it's going to be the next book I read. I am very interested to read about the history of hatchery stock, especially in the West. Thanks for sharing your review Kent!
  8. Working with nature will be the only way out. Hopefully it's not too late.
  9. Hubris, pure and simple.

    Go Sox,
  10. I'm going to have to read that. Thanks Kent.
    Even the wild-spawning coastal cutthroat here on the coast have been adulterated by hatchery plantings in Grays Harbor watersheds.
    "Hubris, pure and simple," for sure. But also..... just plain ignorance, and wishful thinking.
  11. If not for hatcheries...we would not have the exotic tiger trout. TIGER TROUT, for crying out loud! I can't believe anyone is bitchin. We have triploids in many of our waters...who's only job is to grow big and tasty...and you're gonna complain about that? Thanks to hatcheries, Lake Chelan has a land-locked chinook fishery. That poor town would probably dry up and blow away without this program. Who in their right mind would go there...were it not for these fish? Sorry, but I'm seein' the glass as half-full.
  12. It's been on my reading list and I'm going to buy a copy today...
  13. " history shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men..." Blue Oyster Cult

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