Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review: An Entirely Synthetic Fish - How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World

This review has been a long time in the making...I wish I could say the delay was due to fishing. Sadly, it's been over 120 days since I've had a salmonid on the end of my line.

This is a book I highly recommend, regardless of your preference for salmonids. Anders has done an outstanding job going full circle with the rainbow trout history. From the first rainbow captured for transport from the headwaters of the McCloud River to currently being stocked on every continent but Antarctica. For every person born each year in the US there are 20 rainbow trout stocked in US waters.

The history of the rainbow trout goes full circle, from the poisoning of the upper Green River and streams in GSMNP (to make room for the sporty rainbow), to the current efforts to re-establish native species in both locations.

Lynn Camp Prong in GSMNP was recently poisoned to remove the rainbows and re-establish the brook trout.

Anders also captures a great deal of history in between. He outlines how Montana developed their no stocking policy to increase fish numbers and how whirling disease nearly devastated the hatcheries. I found it interesting that, somewhere out there, there is a database of all of the hatchery strains of rainbow trout...fighters, colors, temperature tolerance, and whirling disease resistance.

West Virginia even gets mentioned for the development of the golden trout.

Anders has put his time in on this book, with a list of reference material over 20 pages long. If you have an interest in the history of fishery development across the US, I highly recommend this book.

You can find more information on Anders' website:

Hopefully I can soon return to posting reports on my continuous search for native salmonids, but now I have a new respect for the occasional wild rainbow I encounter.