Editor's Note: Over the years, John Ross has continually revised his popular book, "Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams," and he's been generous enough to ensure that some of the proceeds from this book go to the great work that TU does on the ground to make fishing better all across the nation. The latest revision is out, and available for purchase. In the coming weeks, John has agreed to share a few of the tips and and locations on TU's blog that make this book so popular with anglers all across America.
By John Ross
The question I’m always asked is this, “Have you fished all of these?” I grin and reply, “In my mind.” I have drifted flies on a good number of them, but so what? Anybody who’s seen me mistake a blue winged olive for a blue quill or watched my sloppy open-loop casts knows that Lefty Kreh, am not.
It takes years to get to know a stream. The variables are almost infinite. High or low water? Clear or off-color? Cool or cold? Sun or shade? Wind east or west? Rising or falling barometer? Recent flood changed the pools? Access altered?
Sure, we outdoor writers are a presumptuous lot. We blow into Last Chance, hook up with a guide, spend a couple of days fishing the Ranch and throwing streamers in Box Canyon, write a spiffy piece for a magazine and pat ourselves on the back as knowledgeable authorities on Henry’s Fork. Baloney!
Blog posts and web sites carry great information about streams you’ve never fished. But can you trust it? In writing the 3rd edition of TU’s Guide to America’s 100 Best Trout Streams, I spent a lot of time researching on-line. Particularly useful were state and federal fisheries sites. Their info tended to be pretty current, which is often not the case with private sites.
But you know where I found the best help? TU chapters and members. Many chapters run “Fish with a “Friend” outings. Chapter leaders are only too happy to share what they know with a visiting TUer. For the book, I relied on them a lot and am in their debt.
If you’re traveling to fish, go to TU.org. Find the chapter closest to your destination. Call ‘em (better than e-mail). Ask for help, and offer to take them fishing should they visit your neck of the woods. You’ll make a new friend.