Writing About Fishing

Talking with Thomas McGuane

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