Whitlock's masterpiece

Artful Profiles of Trout, Char, and Salmon and the Classic Flies That Catch Them (due out in another month or so) is a book that every serious angler (and supporter of Trout Unlimited) should own.

The great fly-fishing artists and writers occupy niches. Nobody spins a fishing yarn or literally paints the scene like John Gierach and Bob White do (respectively). Lefty Kreh and Mel Krieger both taught us everything we need to know about the art of casting a fly rod. “Dr. Trout,” Robert Behnke, was our fish biology professor, while Charlie Meyers had a knack for simplifying the sport for everyone. And when it comes to reading water and understanding the technical nuances of fly fishing, well, few have their act wrapped as tightly as Tom Rosenbauer.

But I’d suggest that the another figure who brings it all together with aplomb might well be Dave Whitlock. His latest book, Artful Profiles of Trout, Char, and Salmon and the Classic Flies that Catch Them, co-authored with his wife Emily Whitlock (Skyhorse Publishing, $24.99) is exactly what the elaborate title says—a collection of detailed descriptions and illustrations of coldwater species, and likewise, detailed drawings and explanations of the various flies anglers use to catch those fish.

It’s a beautifully-produced book, worthy of a permanent spot on the coffee table or the angler’s reference library. There’s so much history, and science, and art and culture woven into the pages, you might be drawn to it as an artifact. But as you read, and look, you start to connect the dots, and this becomes a wildly effective tutorial that will make you a smarter, more productive angler. You understand the fish, and why they do things. Then you understand the flies, and why they work. Ultimately, this is a treatise on the rationale of fly fishing. I’ve never read a book that underscores the rationale as effectively, in one place, like this book does.

And truth be told, not only have I read a lot of books, I’ve read most of the entries in this very book, because much of this work first appeared in the pages of TROUT magazine as I have been editor. It was a learning opportunity for me to work with the Whitlocks through their series about the fish, and then about the flies. (A “Holy smokes, I didn’t realize that!” epiphany or two was wrapped into every column.) Seeing all this work in one place takes it up a level.

Perhaps most importantly, the Whitlocks are two of the nicest, most gracious, most unassuming and genuine people I have ever worked with. They are true friends of Trout Unlimited. So buy their book, please, you’d be doing us all a favor. You will not be disappointed, I can promise that.

— Kirk Deeter

By Chris Hunt.