all fishermen are liars,    fly fishing media,    john gierach,    Review

First Glance: John Gierach's "All Fishermen Are Liars"

Posted by Tom Chandler 4/9/2014 5 minutes

The review copy of John Gierach's latest effort (All Fishermen Are Liars) arrived Saturday, and while I'm just getting started, I admit to a little concern.

His first essay is essentially a summary of his writing and fly fishing life.

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Which feels a little... final.

john gierach, all fishermen are liars The latest from Gierach. More as I read it.

More as it unfolds.

See you between the covers, Tom Chandler.
Destinations
 (2)
This is a small town with a big heart, a veritable fisherman’s paradise. Located near the fish-filled Madison River, and surrounded by the waters of Ennis Lake, the Ruby River, Hebgen ... moreLake, Quake Lake, Henry’s Lake, the Big Hole River and scores of smaller streams, the town boasts what many consider the best trout fishing in the world. As well known for its wranglers as its anglers, Ennis has succeeded in maintaining the look and feel of its original, gold town roots. Warm and hospitable, the area offers a wide variety of accommodations ranging from simple campsites, rustic motels and gracious hotels, to full-service, luxury resorts. Fly shops are numerous, stocked by local experts ready to advise and assist, while guides can be booked for trips throughout the area.

Boredom is the only thing unavailable in Ennis. Throughout the summer season the city hosts a series of events, including its renowned 4th of July Celebration Parade and a genuine, old-fashioned rodeo. In August, fly-fishing luminaries from around the US, flock to Montana to compete in the Madison Fly Fishing Festival. Athletes also find their way to Ennis to compete in the city’s Madison Trifecta, two shorter races followed by a full Marathon at 9000 feet, the highest elevation run in America. For the true sportsman, October falls in with the annual Hunter’s Feed. What’s caught, typically elk, moose deer, pheasant and bobcat, gets cooked on the streets and served up to hungry spectators.

Flanked by three grand mountain ranges, The Tobacco Root, Gravelly and Madison, Ennis is scenic and entertaining – truly an authentic, fly fisher’s haven.
Fishing Waters
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Given its association with transport, commerce and business development, it’s easy to forget that there remain parts of the Missouri set aside for fishing, boating and enjoying nature’s ... morebounty. From source to mouth, it is the longest river in North America, over 2, 341 miles. The river’s watershed consists of over a million square miles and includes parts of 10 American states and 2 Canadian provinces. When combined with the lower Mississippi, it is the 4th longest river in the world. Whew! That’s a lot to take in. But, if you’re a fly fisher in Montana, the only section of the Missouri you really need to know about is a tiny, 40 mile, stretch downstream of Holter Dam, near the towns of Wolf Creek, Craig and Cascade and not far from the city of Helena. This is the “Blue Ribbon” trout section of the Missouri.

Water released from Holter Dam keep this section the river at a fairly consistent level, helping to maintain cool temperatures year round. Some guides describe the river here as a gigantic spring creek surrounded by weed beds with long riffles, great banks and undercuts that provide ideal habitat for the river’s substantial trout population. By substantial, we’re talking 3,500 to 5,500 fish per mile on a yearly basis – and many of these exceed 16 inches! The first ten miles of the river from Holter Dam to Craig tend to have the largest number of hatches resulting in the highest concentration of fish.

In this “gigantic spring” part of the river, rainbow trout outnumber browns by a ratio of 6:1. In addition, stable populations of burbot and stonecats live below the dam. As a bonus, the reservoir is surrounded by the Beartooth Wildlife Management Area as well as three other designated nature preserves and wilderness set-asides. Look up and there’s a good chance you’ll spot a bald eagle, various types of falcon, red-tail hawks, osprey and golden eagles – you may even get a chance to see them snatch a fish from the water. Shore side it’s not unusual to sight bighorn sheep, elk, and mountain goats. This may be an area small in size but its large in its grandeur and many offerings.
 (4)
The Beaverhead is a nearly 70 mile long tributary of the Jefferson River. Its original course has changed due to the construction of the Clark Canyon Dam, as have its headwaters, once ... moreformed by the confluence of the Red Rock River and Horse Prairie Creek. These rivers, along with the first 6 miles of the Beaverhead, are now flooded as a result of the reservoir project. Today, the Beaverhead flows through a wide valley where it meets the Big Hole River and forms the Jefferson River. The river is well known for its clear, blue-green color, narrow, winding turns, willow-lined, undercut banks and thriving insect life that attracts fish.

The origin of its colorful name can be traced back to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, when their indigenous guide, Sacajawea, recognized a large rock formation in the middle of the river known to her as the Beaver’s Head. According to Lewis, this indicated to her that they were close to the summer retreat of her Indian nation. On August 15, 1805 the party reached her tribe, where one of her remaining brothers, Cameahwait, Chief of the Shoshone, provided crude maps, food and horses, making it possible to continue the Expedition through the mountains. On their return trip Lewis gave the river, once full of beavers, the name it now holds.

Fortunately, floating the Beaverhead in today’s world is much easier, more fun and amply rewarding. It is widely considered one of Montana's premier Brown trout fishing rivers, producing more large trout, particularly Brown trout, than any other river in the state. Due to its abundance of large trout, fly fishing the stretch near Dillon, from Clark Canyon Dam to Barrett’s Dam and through to Twin Bridges, tends to be very popular and get can crowded, even although the fish can also be hard to catch. While large fish can be caught with dry flies, it is primarily a nymph fishing river along with a swiftly moving current, so expect to be constantly mending your line.
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If fly wranglers were gossips, the “Blue Ribbon” Madison River would likely be their primary object of attention. Arguably it’s the most talked over, written up and frequented river ... morein the entire state of Montana – and that’s saying something. What’s more, no one has anything bad to say about it and that’s for a good reason. There’s nothing bad to say. Its scenic journey begins in Yellowstone National Park at the convergence of the Gibbon and Firehole rivers and continues for 19 miles through parkland. Within the Park, fishing rules apply: no live bait and sorry to disappoint, but it’s catch and release only. Once outside the Park the river meanders past working ranches, stately conifer forests and cottonwood lined banks, interrupted by riffles and quiet runs that contain large rainbow and trophy brown trout. Flowing alongside Yellowstone’s West entrance road, the river enters the Hebgen Lake, created by Hebgen dam, until it reaches Quake Lake, a bit downstream from the dam. At this point the river is commonly called either the Upper Madison or the Lower Madison, although in fact, they are one and the same.

Upper Madison – Quake Lake to Ennis Lake
Directly below Quake Lake the river roars into 5 long miles of Class V whitewater with steep gradients and large boulders along the way. As the rapids decline, the magic begins. For the next 53 miles, often referred to as the 50 Mile Riffle, the cold river runs north and the fish jump high. Annual runs of spawning trout make their way from Hebgen Lake, rainbows in the spring and browns in the fall. Known the world over for its “hard fighting” trout, it’s not unusual to pull a 25” brown from these upper waters. In deference to the purists and fly-fishing enthusiasts, it’s wading only from Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge. Boats may be used to access the river, but if you’re going to fish, your feet must be on the riverbed. Fortunately, the Hegman releases water throughout the year, leveling its flows and relieving it of spring runoff issues and summer shrinkage.

//
Lower Madison – Ennis Lakes to Three Forks
A short section of the river between Ennis Dam and the power station maintain relatively low water levels and provide wonderful opportunities for wading. Past the power station the river regains its muscle and for 7 miles winds through Bear Trap Canyon. Hiking trails offer the only entry, great for those that like to walk and seek the solitude of a designated wilderness area. Floating is permitted but requires a lengthy shuttle and the ability to work through Class III-IV whitewater. Once out of the canyon the river flows in shallow riffles until it reaches Three Forks and joins the Missouri. From Warm Springs to Greycliff, the river is easily accessible for drifters and wading.
Trips
$
1,075
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
3 days
Experience the Madison River Like Never Before Learn the best spots on the Madison River with 3 great fishing days with Red Mountain Adventures. Eric Shores, with over 35 years of ... moreexperiencing guiding on the Madison River will take you down a journey of the best places to fish.

The journey starts on the Upper Madison River on a guided float trip covering about 8-11 miles of premier fly fishing water. The following day includes a recipe (location flies, and technique) on a do it yourself wade location near the fly fishing town of Ennis. The third day moves you on to where the Madison River dumps into Ennis Lake for a full float day stalking the giants.

Note: The order or location may change based on where the best spots are at the time.
$
500
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
Destination:
The “Mighty Missouri” is a “must fish” river for experienced anglers where stealth and delicate, accurate casts with tiny match-the-hatch dry-flies that compete with thousands of the ... morereal bugs, and a drag free drift are required to catch the huge, wary and finicky Rainbows and Browns rising to Caddis, BWO’s, PMD’s, Trico’s, midge, and a wide array of terrestrials.

When there are few, or no fish rising, nymph or streamer fishing is hot from a drift boat or raft. When flows are low-moderate, there are lots of wade fishing opportunities. We fish the Missouri from Holter Dam to Cascade, a 30-mile stretch of river designated a “Blue Ribbon” tail water fishery.
$
495
-
$
575
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
Destination:
One of the three great tailwaters in Big Sky Country. stable water flows, dense populations of trout and great insect life make this river a great option almost any time of year. Multiple ... morespring creek influxes below Dillon create some great clear water, dry fly opportunities during the heat of the summer. Big Browns on hoppers. A great river to fly fish.

What the Beaverhead offers:

Over 80 miles of fishable water.

Tailwater reliability - very little runoff effect

Nymphing for larger than average trout.

PMD hatches in June and July that will cause you to make bad casts.

Rainbow trout that will straighten out hooks and break 3x tippet.

Brown trout that will chase size 4 streamers and inhale them.

Sight fishing... need I say more?
Outfitters
Located in the prestine Upper Blackfoot River Basin near Lincoln, MT, we offer anglers fully guided fly fishing trips on some of the best fly fishing waters in the world. We and our ... moreteam of experienced, seasoned fly fishing guides strive to provide you with a fly fishing vacation experience that will far-exceed your highest expectations. We offer daytrip guide service, tailored multi-day trip packages with lodging in rental cabins, B&B's and hotels, riverside base tent-camps, and weeklong float fishing trips. Rivers we operate on include the Big Blackfoot River(as in "A River Runs Thru It"), the 30 mile "Blue Ribbon" designated stretch of the Missouri River, Smith River, Dearborn River (all 3 forks), South Fork of the Flathead River in The Bob Marshall Wilderness, Clark Fork River, Clearwater River, Bitteroot River, Rock Creek, and many other smaller streams and area lakes. The combination of breath-taking scenery, some of the best fly fishing waters you will find anywhere, and some of the best fly fishing guides in Montana, ensure you will have the most awesome, memorable, and safe fly fishing vacation you could possibly experience anywhere. Proudly serving anglers since 1997. Member of Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, Montana Fishing Outfitters Association, Montana Chapter Trout Unlimited.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

10 comments
It was also odd that A.K. Best is mentioned in that first chapter but in none of the chapters after that. Did they have a falling out? Or did their lives just move in different directions?A couple books ago, Gierach mentioned that he and AK weren't fishing together very much because of their schedules, and that at one point, he went to call A.K. and couldn't remember the phone number. In his prior ... more book, he seemed to be taking a lot of solo trips, and I asked him about that. His take was that the economy sucked and all his friends were broke, so he was going fishing alone a lot more often.
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I just finished the book today. My subscription to FR&R expired several years ago so all the essays in the book were new to me. It was a little odd that the first chapter was a summary of his life. Normally you see such chapters at the end of a book, not at the beginning. It was also odd that A.K. Best is mentioned in that first chapter but in none of the chapters after that. Did they have a falling ... more out? Or did their lives just move in different directions?
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Idaho steel: I didn’t find that first chapter too ominously final. More of a condensed memoir in the second person. I pictured John sitting down and thinking back on the last forty years, asking himself, “now how the hell did that happen…” I wouldn't suggest it was written to be final, but I did find myself wondering why he opened he book with a look back, and if there was something we didn't ... more know that he did. And yes, I just finished the book and his humor was a little edgier. Ah well. Time to write a review.
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I didn't find that first chapter too ominously final. More of a condensed memoir in the second person. I pictured John sitting down and thinking back on the last forty years, asking himself, "now how the hell did that happen..." These days, life can be a constant battle against cynicism. Particularly when you view the world from our fairly singular point of view. In this book, as in the last, I found ... more his humor edgier and his observations more acerbic.
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A. Wannabe Travelwriter: As a wannabe travel writer, and as a wannabe fisherman, thank goodness I can compliment my lack of writing and fishing acumen, with my lack of accuracy in reporting on them.There is an important, elemental, life-changing concept at work somewhere in this sentence. I'm just not sure exactly where. Still, you may have inadvertently spawned the tagline for my writing/marketing ... more company...
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A few years ago, a published travel writer penned a somewhat controversial book titled, "smile when you're lying," about travel writers making shit up. As a wannabe travel writer, and as a wannabe fisherman, thank goodness I can compliment my lack of writing and fishing acumen, with my lack of accuracy in reporting on them. As my dad used to say, the second liar doesn't have a chance.
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Steve Z: That sounds vaguely familiar. Was that a previously published piece? Probably. It's pretty common to gather essays and columns published elsewhere into a book. The good news for me is I let my FR&R subscription collapse. So they're mostly new to me.
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That sounds vaguely familiar. Was that a previously published piece?
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Haven't read enough of the book to gain a sense of context, so for now, the summary sticks out. I remember finishing his "Grave of the Unknown Fisherman" and thinking that was someone who had glimpsed his mortality. Later, Gierach told me the book was in response to 9/11, so I wasn't far off. We'll see where this one ends up.
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It is possible, you know, to wait too long to write a summary of your life. The trick, I guess, is to wait, and wait, and then time it . . . just right. Thankfully, most people wait too long. But we'd be the lesser if Gierach waited too long.
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