Standing in a River Waving a Stick

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"The solution to any problem -- work, love, money, whatever -- is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be."
In Standing in a River Waving a Stick, John Gierach visits his favorite trout-filled waters, from the Colorado foothills to British Columbia and points between, recounting both memorable fishing spots and memorable fish. With his trademark combination of wit and wisdom, he discusses such topics as the differences between fishing in ponds and fishing in streams; what makes a good fly pattern; the ethics of writing about undiscovered trout waters; and the fly-fisher's progression from Stage One -- "when you fish from dawn to dusk without a break, get quickly drunk on something cheap, [and] spend the night wrapped in a wet blanket" -- to something slightly more civilized.
Gierach takes in his surroundings with the keen and appreciative eye of a naturalist, whether he's observing the hatching patterns of flies, catching subtle clues to the presence of potentially big fish nearby, or taking note of the local denizens in his wry and philosophical way ("Rural people understand that life is basically a dangerous, unmanageable mess, so when things go wrong, their suspicions are confirmed and it's just a blessing no one was killed").
Rich in fishing lore, humor, and the seasoned know-how that has won Gierach a devoted readership, Standing in a River Waving a Stick is sure to delight readers everywhere -- fly-fishers or not.
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Book Details:
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684863290 | 
  • April 2000
List Price $16.99

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Happy Idiot

Lately I've been thinking about what makes a good fly-fisher, possibly the last fair question of the twentieth century that might actually have an answer. I mean that in a purely technical sense, as in someone who's pretty good at catching fish on a fly rod. The other stuff -- the humor, graciousness, inner peace or whatever -- is important and may even turn out to be the whole point, but I'm not sure you can learn that part. I'm beginning to think it either comes by itself with time, or not.

On the other hand, I think you can learn to be a good fisherman (at least I hope so), and it's... see more


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