A Passion for Steelhead by Dec Hogan (Wild River Press)
I have waited anxiously for Dec's new book on steelhead. It has been a long time coming. I am pleased to say that it was well worth the wait.
At first glance you will notice that the book is beautifully made and large in size (9" X 11"). It is quite substantial at 319 pages. My copy is hardcover with a glossy dust jacket.
Paging through you will notice the stunning photography; fish, flies, fishing scenes, and riverscape. Simple, well thought out, easy to follow pencil drawings are used to illustrate casting sequences and fishing strategies. Detailed pencil drawings illustrating how a steelhead takes your fly are beautiful and interesting. But all is not just for pretty...
The foreword by legendary steelhead fisherman and fly designer Bill McMillan gives credibility to Dec's "passion".
Tom Pero writes the introduction which traces the life course of the steelhead. What an amazing fish.
What sets this book apart from other "how too" fishing books? This book is not written like a textbook, rather as if Dec was speaking to you as a friend. It makes for a fast paced and engaging read.
Dec writes from 15 years of experience as a full time steelhead guide on some of the most well known western rivers; the Skagit and Sauk, the Skykomish, the Deschutes, and the Grande Ronde. It should be noted that Dec only fishes in the classic northwest style. That is swinging attractor patterns down and across. This book does not discuss nymph and egg tactics, methods which are quite popular in the Great Lakes region. As you would expect Dec shares the tactics and techniques that he perfected while guiding. Flies, casting, presentation, fighting the fish, and steelhead throughout the seasons are topics that each get there own chapters. These chapters are very detailed yet easily understood. Tackle, rigging, even a Q & A section, its all here. Dec's sense of humor and passion for the sport shines throughout. This book will get you fired up to get out and fish!
The afterword is sobering. It is written by Pete Soverel, the founder of the Kamchatka Steelhead Project, a cooperative scientific research program made up of angler volunteers and international fisheries agencies. It was formed to better understand the wild steelhead and its needs in an effort to help protect its future. Hopefully this magnificent fish will once again thrive.
All in all a fantastic book that exceeded my expectations, a masterwork.
If you enjoy this book, I recommend that you acquire a copy of Dec's DVD "Modern Spey Casting and More" (Amato Publications). It is a great teaching aide and fun to watch instructional film covering Dec's style of casting and fishing.