Fly fishers often talk about following streams to their sources and wading into headwaters. We fantasize about magical origins to our favorite fisheries. We seek the flows that give cold, flowing life to the spaces we feel most at home. As we wade upstream, casting, splashing, spotting trout, or identifying bugs, we are participating in an age old ritual that unites us with the history of our sport.
Just as the rivers we fish, various tributaries flow downstream, to give shape to the cultures of fly fishing today. There are rivers of technology and the innovation of flies, fly rods, or reels. There are streams of literature, with magazines, journals, or personal diaries and blogs, devoting ink to both instruction and inspiration. And of course, there is a pantheon of legendary (and sometimes mythical) anglers from Izaak Walton to Ernest Schweibert, or from Julianna Berners to Joan Wulff, who have laid the foundations of fly fishing around the globe. There are also countless "anonymous anglers" out there who are just as important to the sport as the famed anglers.
Today, the sport is filled with state of the art technology, glitzy media, and flashy films. Amidst all of this, sometimes we forget to look backward and appreciate all of those streams that feed today's fly fishing river. With that in mind, I hope that this blog will bring snipptes of history to the contemporary fly fisher. In doing so, my goal is to make history relevant and interesting to today's fly fishers. I will explore topics ranging from technology to conservation, from heroes to anonymous anglers. I hope you will join me in my journeys as I wade into the various headwaters of our sport.
Much of the research posted on this blog is sponsored by the National Sporting Library.