Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West

Hardcover | March 16, 2015

byJen Corrinne Brown

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From beer labels to literary classics like A River Runs Through It, trout fishing is a beloved feature of the iconography of the American West. But as Jen Brown demonstrates in Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West, the popular conception of Rocky Mountain trout fishing as a quintessential experience of communion with nature belies the sport’s long history of environmental manipulation, engineering, and, ultimately, transformation.

A fly-fishing enthusiast herself, Brown places the rise of recreational trout fishing in a local and global context. Globally, she shows how the European sport of fly-fishing came to be a defining, tourist-attracting feature of the expanding 19th-century American West. Locally, she traces the way that the burgeoning fly-fishing tourist industry shaped the environmental, economic, and social development of the Western United States: introducing and stocking favored fish species, eradicating the less favored native "trash fish," changing the courses of waterways, and leading to conflicts with Native Americans’ fishing and territorial rights. Through this analysis, Brown demonstrates that the majestic trout streams often considered a timeless feature of the American West are in fact the product of countless human interventions adding up to a profound manipulation of the Rocky Mountain environment.

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From the Publisher

From beer labels to literary classics like A River Runs Through It, trout fishing is a beloved feature of the iconography of the American West. But as Jen Brown demonstrates in Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West, the popular conception of Rocky Mountain trout fishing as a quintessential experience ...

Jen Corrinne Brown is professional assistant professor of history at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi.

other books by Jen Corrinne Brown

Backcasts: A Global History of Fly Fishing and Conservation
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Kobo ebook|Jul 11 2016

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 9.26 × 6.25 × 0.83 inPublished:March 16, 2015Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295994576

ISBN - 13:9780295994574

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From the Author

Starting in the 1860s and continuing for over a century, fish culturalists and anglers introduced new fish species and stocked billions of hatchery trout in western waters. In narrating this history, I demonstrate that the iconography of western fly fishing and the nostalgia for majestic trout streams was not a timeless feature of the West, but rather the product of anglers, fisheries managers, tourists, guides, local business people, and regional boosters and their century-long profound manipulation of the Rocky Mountain environment. This manuscript situates these changing historical developments within various scales, from the local and watershed levels to national conservation policy and a transnational angling culture. By shifting the geographical framework in a way that addresses multiple scales of environmental change, this manuscript moves western history beyond the provincialism of many place histories and the determinism of strictly bioregional approaches. By doing so, it allows historians to circumvent the dichotomy of process versus place that has dominated western historiography. In addition, by examining how local places and people shaped national and transnational developments in fisheries conservation, a clearer picture of western conservation emerges, one that does not match the recent historiographic thrust of conservation history that has centered on its elite character.This manuscript has the potential to reach a broad audience beyond western and environmental historians and their students. It should furnish important context and background to the current work of many western conservationists, fisheries biologists, and fisheries managers. The focus on fly fishing will tap into this large readership of fly fishers and fly-fishing tourists.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction

1. Headwaters2. Trout Empire3. Trout Culture4. Trash Fish5. Lunkers6. Wild Trout

EpilogueNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

From beer labels to literary classics like A River Runs Through It, trout fishing is a beloved feature of the iconography of the American West. But as Jen Brown demonstrates in Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West, the popular conception of Rocky Mountain trout fishing as a quintessential experience of communion with nature belies the sport’s long history of environmental manipulation, engineering, and, ultimately, transformation. A fly-fishing enthusiast herself, Brown places the rise of recreational trout fishing in a local and global context. Globally, she shows how the European sport of fly-fishing came to be a defining, tourist-attracting feature of the expanding 19th-century American West. Locally, she traces the way that the burgeoning fly-fishing tourist industry shaped the environmental, economic, and social development of the Western United States: introducing and stocking favored fish species, eradicating the less favored native "trash fish," changing the courses of waterways, and leading to conflicts with Native Americans’ fishing and territorial rights. Through this analysis, Brown demonstrates that the majestic trout streams often considered a timeless feature of the American West are in fact the product of countless human interventions adding up to a profound manipulation of the Rocky Mountain environment.A truly intriguing argument that reshapes our understanding of the region, its environment, and culture. Features a wealth of original research. - Michael W. Childers, author of Colorado Powder Keg: Ski Resorts and the Environmental Movement