The Stream Doctor

January 19th, 2004

Email YOUR Questions directly to the Stream Doctor. This is your opportunity to get an experts professional opinion on anything stream related.

Q. From Cre150: Dear Dr. What is a good basic book on steam ecology?

A. Response: For your request, I would probably recommend the volumes by Cushing and Allan, Hunter, and McCafferty as being the most readable for folks not trained in the aquatic sciences. Unfortunately, none of these have much, if anything, to say about hatches. Most ecologically oriented texts discuss insect emergence as part of life cycle descriptions, but not in relation to what fisherman are for in terms of hatches. Some of the fishing literature covers this better.

Streams: Their Ecology and Life by Colbert E. Cushing and J. David Allan. Academic Press, 2001, paperback.

Blowing my own horn here, but Dave and I wrote this book especially for the lay audience - anglers, naturalists, conservationists, etc. It covers all the basic aspects of stream ecology with separate chapters on all of the major groups of biota found in streams.

Better Trout Habitat by Christopher J. Hunter. Island Press, 1991, paperback. Heavy on trout, but a nice primer on stream ecology and stream restoration.

Ecology of Fresh Waters, Man and Medium by Brian Moss. 2nd ed. Blackwell Scientific Publ., 1988, paperback. A lot of technical information, but also readable.

Freshwater Ecology, Principles and Applications by Michael Jeffries and Derek Mills. Belhaven Press, 1990, paperback. Similar in content to Moss.

Stream Ecology; Structure and Function of Running Waters by J. David Allan. Chapman & Hall, 1995, cloth or paperback.

Although perhaps too technical, this is the first new textbook on stream ecology since the classic by Noel Hynes published in 1970.

Aquatic Entomology; The Fishermen's and Ecologists' Illustrated Guide to Insects and Their Relatives by W. Patrick McCafferty. Jones and Bartlett, 1981, cloth or paperback.

This is a good book. It has beautiful color plates of various insects, illustrated keys to their identification, and a wealth of information on streams and their ecology. The taxonomy is a bit dated, but certainly adequate for the non-specialist. I used parts of this in the course I taught on Stream Ecology at Washington State University.

An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America, 3rd ed. by R.W. Merritt and K.W. Cummins. Kendall/Hunt, 1996, paper or spiral bound.

Much excellent information on aquatic insects and their ecology and identification. Probably a bit too technical, but a classic.

If you have a question, please feel free to contact me.
~ C. E. (Bert) Cushing, aka Streamdoctor
105 W. Cherokee Dr.
Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-577-1584

The 'Stream Doctor' is a retired professional stream ecologist and author, now living in the West and spending way too much time fly-fishing. You are invited to submit questions relating to anything stream related directly to him for use in this Q & A Feature at

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