I’ve had the good fortune to spend many hours fishing with John Gierach– vicariously of course. If you’re a fly fisher, chances are nearly 100% that you’ve read, or at least heard of, John Gierach. Gierach is probably today’s most prolific angling writer. If you’ve read any of his many books, you know that Gierach is the consummate storyteller, his prose spare, direct, and converstional but extremely well-crafted. A pleasant blend of friends fishing, humor, and philosophy, Gierach’s essays are always entertaining. Reading his essays, one can easily imagine oneself in the scene, a participant.
Gierach grew up in the upper Midwest and moved to Colorado as a young man there fulfilling his dream of becoming a trout bum and author. Although he enjoys all types of fly fishing from bonefish to steelhead to salmon, it soon becomes apparent in his stories that he is foremost a small stream, bamboo rod angler. He affectionately describes days spent fishing his beloved St. Vrain river with his fishing buddies, A.K. Best, Ed Engle, and others, all fly anglers of some renown in their own rights.
John Gierach, as he reminds you is his books, is a product of the ’60s, and a good bit of that aging hippie counterculture vibe comes through in his writing. This is a guy you’d like to spend a day on the stream with (and maybe have a beer with.) The is no pretense to Gierach, at least in his prose.
Some have criticized his writing for its sameness, and it’s true that all of his books share a common “feel,” but it’s an immensely satisfying one; when I read a Gierach book, I don’t want it to end.
As an aside, John Gierach and his friend, Ed Engle, have recently been introduced to tenkara by Daniel Galhardo. While I’m sure they’re not ready to give up their bamboo rods, they were gracious enough to praise tenkara in print and interviews.
Books authored by John Gierach include:
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 the High Country
Still Life with Brook Trout
Standing in a River Waving a Stick
Dances with Trout
Another Lousy Day in Paradise
At the Grove 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
No Shortage of Good Days