Writing About Fishing

Illustrating Maclean’s A River Runs Through It

No work of fly fishing literature has enjoyed more popular, critical and commercial success than Norman Maclean’s novella, A River Runs Through It, and the accompanying illustrations tell us a great deal about how readers and artists responded to the story. A River Runs Through It has been presented in three distinct editions: the first edition, “The Little Blue Book” (1976), designed and illustrated by Robert Williams; “The Picture Book” (1983) with photographs by Joel Snyder; and The Pennyroyal Edition (1989), designed and illustrated by Barry Moser. The art of Snyder and Moser, in particular, steered the semiautobiographical novella toward more realistic, nonfiction representations; and, as the treatment of portraits will show, Norman Maclean, himself, became the celebrated subject of the text.

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Hughes’ Work for Anglers Journal

Henry Hughes is a regular contributor to Anglers Journal, a premier magazine devoted to the culture of fishing. His work includes poems about growing up on Long Island, essays on artists and fillet queens, as well as adventurous accounts of dropping bait to big sturgeon in urban Portland, fly-fishing for small trout in the Idaho wilderness, and negotiating the winds and guides of Iceland. “Hughes writes about fishing with passion, insight, humor and wisdom,” responded one reader. “His words swim true.”

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Talking with Thomas McGuane

Talking with Tom McGuane over his tying desk, September, 2018. Photo by Chloë Hughes.

A literary and angling legend, Thomas McGuane was born in Michigan and has lived in southwest Montana for fifty years. He is the author of several acclaimed novels and screenplays, as well as ten collections of short fiction and non-fiction, including what many consider the best American book of essays on fly fishing: The Longest Silence: A Life of Fishing. I visited McGuane on a sunny Sunday afternoon in early September at this ranch above the West Boulder River.

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Night of the Copper Rockfish

I am the oldest in our group, and I listened to my younger friends as we drove through Oregon’s coastal range towards the ocean. Nate and Jarod are biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, Peter is a professor at a state university. Strong winds predictions and the younger men’s concerns – federal and state budget cuts, hectic work schedules, young children and busy spouses – made me hope the trip would offer them some relief. I glanced back at the boat we trailered, remembering past trips that buoyed our spirits during trying times.
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A Governor, a Fly, a Fish, and a Photo

Salem, Oregon features a bronze statue of a fly fisherman, Tom McCall, state governor from 1967 to 1975 and one of the nation’s most passionate pioneering environmentalists. Wearing a tee-shirt and waders, he holds his heavy rod in this right hand, his left arm flexes with the weight of a steelhead.
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