The Artful Science of Trout Fishing
by John Hayes and Les Hill
ISBN 1-877257-19-2 Beautifully illustrated with excellent colour photographs on almost every page. Also watercolour paintings by Maggie Atkinson. Softcover. Size 260mm x 190mm. 255pp. Published in 2005 by Canterbury University Press
The first thing that grabs the reader of The Artful Science of Trout Fishing is the stunning original photography both on the cover and throughout the book.
The authors take the reader through some very interesting topics covering the behaviour, origins and distribution of trout, before leading on to the trout’s life cycle and a look at trout mortality. The authors note that a 1945 study for the Acclimatisation Society found 15,805 trout in the stomachs of 2,883 shags. That works out at more than five per shag! There are also eels, floods, careless anglers and our dangers for the trout to contend with.
I found the chapters on trout fishing in running and still waters quite insightful. I have spent much of my own trout fishing days casting around the shoreline of various Canterbury high country and Central Otago Lakes. The first thing that strikes the novice when looking out across the vastness of a lake is just where to start fishing, or for that matter is one spot likely to be any better than another? The authors answer these questions well pointing out what to look for to increase your chances of hooking a fish. Numerous factors should be taken into account such as thermal and oxygen stratification, water quality, and where the trout’s food is produced.
The feeding behaviours of trout are also considered. According to the author’s aquatic insect drift increases at dusk and is highest at night. The increase in numbers of large drifting insects at dusk draws the larger trout from their daytime hiding places particularly in lowland rivers where they sometimes lie under cover or in deep pools during the day. I have often experienced this also both with trout and sea fish. Areas that can seem devoid of fish during bright daylight surprisingly come to life as evening approaches.
Also covered in the text are the subjects of Sports Fishery Management in New Zealand, Conserving the habitat, and managing angling particularly from increased fishing pressure in recent years.
This extensive, and beautifully illustrated, work will appeal to all trout anglers seeking to enhance their appreciation of the trout’s environment both from the perspective of placing a fly in the right place to catch a fish, as well as improving our understanding of how, when and where trout live!