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Steelhead Water (1993, Frank Amato Publications, Portland, Oregon; 296 pages)

Steelhead & the Floating Line (1995, Frank Amato Pub.;168 pages)


There are, of course, few books about spey fishing specifically. But there are many that touch on it obliquely, that resonate with concurrent themes. These two are fine regional examples.

I run into Bob occasionally, often on the long bar just below the mouth of Deer Creek in Oso that marks the division between the upper and lower North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. He is, or was, a technical writer by profession, and a founder of "The Osprey, the Journal of Wild Steelhead." These two books arise from his many years fly fishing the North Stilly, Skagit, Sauk, Wenatchee and Grand Ronde. "Steelhead Water" is a collection of essays on the many arcane subjects that, blended, make up something as complex as a regional fly angler's lifetime sport. There are sections on genetic adaptability, the naming of pools, sink tips and heads, his changing tastes in rods and his ongoing love of Hardy reels, and the evolution of the Spade, his signature fly design.

"Floating Line" is self-explanatory as to contents, written in the same straightforward expository style. It covers damp and waking as well as floating flies, in all seasons. It's well illustrated with many color photos of flies and waters. I used its clear descriptions to find my way to Merlin's Pool and other fine runs on the Wenatchee River, before that fine east-slope river was suddenly denied to us due to drastic declines in steelhead returns in the Columbia River system. In the last chapter, Bob comes to the spey rod with the help of knowledgeable friends, and comes to appreciate its place in our sport.

If the waters of the Cascades flow through your veins and wader legs, these two books are the equivalent of free vacation time onstream. If you appreciate fine regional writing from any corner of the fly fishing world, make the effort to find them.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Mac,

My introduction to "Merlin's Pool" was provided by my friend Bob himself when he took me to it and insisted I fish through first. The highlight of that first visit to this wonderful run was picking up a steelhead opposite the "concrete slab" he speaks of in the dry line book and having Sam do his doggy thing as I brought the fish to hand. Bob has not fished for winter runs in the last 4 years and hardly ever fishes for summer runs anymore either. This has to do with he and Norma having bought a house on a Lake Ketchum and his fishing for stocked trout and spiny rays in the lake, many times right off his dock. I greatly miss his company on the river and have many very found memories of time spent astream with him.

Fortunately, he only lives 11 miles from and I can stop in to see him every once in a while.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Just ordered it on Amazon, thanks for the recommendation.
 

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Relapsed Speyaholic
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Both are classics in their own right and should be in every anglers library.
 
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