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The Leader

Book Review:
Fly Fishing the Mountain Lakes by Gary LaFontaine

Review by Tom Reed
Reprinted from The Leader, Winter 2000, Vol. 16, No. 2

Fly fishing is one of those activities you either love or hate. It's like golf. I've taken up golf lately . . . well, not golf in the truest sense, but actually "cowboy" golf, walking around the golf course with a couple of buddies, chewing tobacco, smoking cigars, drinking Coors and knocking the @#!@!! out of the ball. Since I really don't care about my score and because I suck, I'm having fun.

I'm more serious about fly fishing. I care about making a good cast, about presenting the perfect fly and, I must admit, about catching fish. I also like to teach fly fishing, as a NOLS instructor or as just a friend helping another to learn the finer points of the art.

So, when I saw a copy of Gary LaFontaine's book, Fly Fishing the Mountain Lakes, I was excited. Although I've been fly fishing for the better part of my life, I've never really mastered fly fishing high mountain lakes. I've fished them, but I've never really won . . . kind of like the golfer who is always stymied by one particular hole on the course.

Anyway, I found the book to be a good read. LaFontaine is a master fisherman who sprinkles a liberal dose of good information in with anecdotes and humor. The book discusses technique and timing, equipment, strategies and getting in shape to get there. He even gives tips about using pack animals.

LaFontaine is a Montanan who spends a lot of time out there fishing. He even takes his dogs, Chester and Zeb. Indeed, much of the book is sprinkled with tales of dog feats in various fishing locales. I found these to be entertaining.

At times, though, it got to be a little old. Once in a while, I thought LaFontaine was stretching a little bit in the humor department. Not much, but a little bit.

All in all, I liked the book and I'd recommend it to those who dabble or those who are serious about the fishing game. It's full of tips and ideas and it's a good read. It's also a reminder on these long winter nights that ice-out isn't too far away.

Fly Fishing the Mountain Lakes by Gary LaFontaine, 1998, Greycliff Publishing Co., Helena, MT. ISBN: 0-9626663-7-8



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