Book: Lyons’ John Gierach talks about the philosophy of writing fishing books
With the North and South St. Vrain River merging at the top of Lyons, it can’t help but be an important part of life in Lyons. The beauty and recreation offered by the river has been mentioned in conversations as far back as the beginning days of the town, when people fished for trout for supper. Almost 20 years ago, river features were added, such as boulders that created swirling eddys, black holes and increased rapids. It made the one-mile stretch one of the most popular small white-water rafting runs in the country. In contrast, the great local fishing opportunities promote a vision of a serene long day on the water. The town is also surrounded by other creeks and lakes, some used by anglers on drift boats or canoes, or fly-fishers donning hip waders.
Lyons has two of the most famous fly-fishing-related people in the US. Mike Clark at South Creek, in downtown Lyons, makes high-quality bamboo fishing rods that are in high demand. John Gierach writes popular books on both the skill of fishing and the serenity that it produces.
Gierach has written 22 books on the subject. His latest one “All the Time in the World,” which came out this year, will have a book signing at the Boulder Bookstore. The titles of his books reflect the typical content of his books – “Still Life with Brook Trout,” “Another Lousy Day in Paradise,” and “Even Brook Trout get the Blues.”
“My newest book is not very different from the others, except that they do include different places and different people,” said Gierach. “I see them all as 22 installments in my memoir. As far as the titles, they are all a little self-consciously hip. The book ‘Trout Bum’ (1986) made me stand out, and let the counter-culture in on fly fishing. I’m not a hippie, but I wouldn’t argue with someone who called me that back then.”
In his boyhood, he had a father and favorite uncle who fished, but Gierach says that it was just what kids did back in the 1950’s. But he stayed with it beyond his childhood in the MidWest, and he eventually turned to fly-fishing. His life-long fishing experiences combined with his degree in philosophy helped him produce the books that have widespread popularity.
“I loved both the thrill of the catch and the peace that the day brought me,” said Gierach. “It’s like a chess game. You match wits with a creature with the brain the size of a pea, and it is surprising how often we lose.”
Around 1975, after college, he moved to Colorado. He wrote a column at the Daily Times Call, Longmont, and met the Business Editor, Susan McCann. The office romance turned into the real thing, and they have now lived in the Lyons area for the past 20 years, first in downtown Lyons, and more recently up Blue Mountain Road. Susan is currently the editor of the monthly Lyons newspaper “Redstone Review.”
He has a long list of accomplishments beyond writing his books. Over the years, he has worked with Gray’s Sporting Journal, Field & Stream, Fly, Rod, and Reel, Longmont Daily Times-Call, The New York Times, and the Redstone Review. But he maintains his small town casualness. He still fishes in the St. Vrain River when he is home, but constantly seeks out new adventures across the country.
“My books are about fishing, but not entirely. They are also about life in general,” said Gierach. “I like to read a lot and chose writers who ask interesting questions. Writers who write well. What interests me is the craft of writing.”
The book is available at all major outlets. — May 31, 6:30 p.m., Boulder Bookstore: Lyons’ John Gierach will speak about and sign his new book, All the Time in the World