For three years, my wife and I lived out of a Subaru traveling all over the lower 48 states instructing for Leave No Trace, the educational organization for low-impact outdoor recreation. Those three years were like a dream in that we always found ourselves on trails, rivers, and in towns new and fresh to our eyes. Our rooftop racks shifted with the landscape and the seasons. Mountain bikes in Utah transformed into sea kayaks in the Florida Keys which transitioned into skis in Colorado and then fly fishing kits in Montana.
During those years, we would roll into a new town and I would pick up one of the many fishing guidebooks for a given region and discover every fish-centric detail about the place. The most successful fly patterns, river access points, and detailed descriptions of the water mile by mile would flood my brain. But often we were only in town for a few days and we also desired more context for our time there. How about great lodging and food options? A place for a good regional beer and local color? What was the history and background of the area? It’s a true shame that a book like Bob Mallard’s “25 Best Towns for Fly Fishing for Trout” was not yet in existence during that chapter of my life.
For any fly angler, Mallard (a fly connoisseur whose esteemed accomplishments in his bio prove he’s the man for the job) has written a book that will have you up late at night crafting your bucket list and scanning the web for flights or car rentals. Unlike most fishing guidebooks, this one takes a “destination-centric” approach rather than solely focusing on the waters. In this sense, it’s perfect for not only those who are eager to hit some legendary streams but also for any unfortunate family members, friends and loved ones who do NOT fish but happen to be on your journey with you.
Sections on interesting area history, lodging, local restaurants, and things to see and do lie side by side with detailed text and maps revealing the fish, rivers, fly shops, guides, ideal tackle, and the best time to go to these classic trout base towns.
Classic and somewhat expected outdoor havens like my own Asheville, North Carolina, Missoula, Montana, Bend, Oregon, and Durango, Colorado make Mallard’s top list, but the most fun in reading through the book lies with all of the “new” discoveries. I now really want to go and fish the fabled blue-ribbon trout waters of the Au Sable River in Grayling, Michigan (birthplace of Trout Unlimited) and the next time I am in Park City, Utah I know I will trade in some powder time to cast a line into the Strawberry River on a quest for cutthroat.
And now thanks to Mallard’s insightful research and this book, I will know exactly where I will join the locals to eat and drink in celebration after I land that trout.
Don’t plan your 2016 fishing treks without exploring this book. Check your local fly shop for “25 Best Towns for Fly Fishing for Trout” or order directly from Stonefly Press. If you want a signed copy straight from the source, head over to bobmallard.com
Dusty Allison is Digital Publisher of Blue Ridge Outdoors. He’s an apostle for outdoor books, old maps, wild landscapes, hard tail 29ers, 12 gauge over and unders, Kentucky bourbon, and the Elk Hair Caddis fly.