this book. "Tailwaters" has the best information you can find on 56 world-class streams
that can make your fly-fishing dreams come true. It's a foundational guidebook to
adventure and fulfillment for anyone who enjoys the very best experiences in our sport.
The hatches information alone is worth the price of the book.
- John Randolph, Publisher Emeritus, Fly Fisherman magazine
|50 Best Tailwater To Fly Fish (and hopefully a few flies to catch them)|
Authors: Terry & Wendy Gunn
Foreword: Lefty Kreh
Publisher: Stonefly Press, Bloomington, IN
Pages: 272 pp.
Photos: Over 200 4-color
Maps: 56 4-color, contour maps
Available: October 2013
So not to be a stereotype of my generation, but I've procrastinated a bit before sitting down to write this. It isn't that I didn't want to, or didn't have any ideas. It's just that I like to get a good feel for something before writing, and in this case that meant having the book in hand for a week or two, reading the entire thing once and then flipping back and forth, looking at this and that a few times each day, just to make sure that any first or second or third impressions were what I really felt about the book.
So I've read it, thought about it, noticed a few things here and there and have this to say.
Unless you live near a congregation of fertile spring creeks, (and have the money to pay to fish them time and time again) it's likely that your best stream fishing is in a tailwater. Sure, there are some freestone streams that offer consistent fishing for lots of large trout, but day in and day out, tailwaters, with their consistent temperatures and nutrient rich water, are the best bet for predictable, year 'round, good fishing for big fish.
Enter Terry and Wendy Gunn, long-time guides on the Lees Ferry section of the Colorado River. Together they have compiled a generous list of 56 tailwaters that offer good to unbelievable angling for the fly fisher to enjoy.
|Kristy checking out the 50 Best by the fire on a cold winter night. Where to first??|
Make no mistake, this is a "where to" book, and you're not going to read any chapters on how to tempt large trout in tailwaters. What you do get, though, are 272 pages discussing the best dam influenced trout rivers in North America (Mostly in the USA, but there are three Canadian rivers: the Columbia, the Bow, and the Grand), each having a good detailed map, hatch info, and any relevant regulations you may want to know about. To make it better, each chapter is put together by a local expert (they seem to be almost unanimously guides) so that you know you're reading information from a person who breathes the idiosyncrasies of his or her water.
And you'll know of most of the rivers. There were only a handful I'd never heard of, mostly in the South East of the States, which is as far from me as you can get... The Bighorn, Delaware, San Juan, Sacramento, Platte (three different sections, too) are all there. And you'll start drooling at the few that you haven't heard about.
At $35 the maps alone are less than a good map-book or two, let alone anything that shows all the access points on a particular river, has a hatch breakdown, and tells you where the best local bar, restaurant and campground are located, which this book covers in every chapter.
If I had one complaint about Tailwaters, it's this; it was a lofty goal and some sacrifices certainly needed to be made. The chapters don't let the reader know the best time to travel a thousand miles and try a far-away river. If I was going to the San Juan, should I go in April, or August? I don't know, because while the book tells me what hatches will be going on, I don't know which offer the best fishing prospects. On the Bow, for example, BWOs do hatch in both spring and fall (as is shown in the book), but the spring hatch goes by ignored by the trout; surely this type of information would be useful to the reader.
It isn't a doom and gloom issue, and a quick Google search of an area fly shop's hatch chart will give the missing info.
So if you aren't sure where your next fishing trip is going to take you, pick this book up, leave it on the coffee table (mine is still sitting there, giving me motivation to stick it out through the winter...) and make a Dream List of rivers. This book will certainly get you on the right track.