Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly.  With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you.  Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old.  Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today.  Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

March 6th, 2006

Washington River Maps and Fishing Guide
By Frank Amato Publications

Reviewed by Ron Eagle Elk (REE), WA

Washington River Maps and Fishing Guide
Since I don't fish Oregon much, I've never spent the money to get a copy of Frank Amato Publication's Oregon River Maps and Fishing Guide, and have only read the review here on FAOL. Soon after I read the review I started wondering why no one has published a reference work like this for Washington. Well, someone has. Frank Amato Publications followed up their success with another winner.

While Washington River Maps and Fishing Guide doesn't cover all of Washington's fine rivers, it does an excellent job of detailing information about the major fishing rivers in our fair state.

This is not just a book of maps, but is chock full of useful information for anglers of all experience levels. The color plates of Washington's sport fishes and aquatic insects are second to none, followed closely by the very nice color photos of flies useful on our rivers. The section on knots and fly fishing techniques is an excellent Fly Fishing 101 course.

While there is no substitute for getting out on a river and doing some exploring on your own, Washington River Maps and Fishing Guide will cut your learning time considerably. Combine the clear, very readable, maps with the hatch charts and suggested fishing months for each species of fish and your well on your way to a successful foray onto Washington's rivers.

One of my favorites of Washington's rivers is the Cowlitz, located about one hour south of my home. (The map above is not actual size.) This beautiful river offers winter and summer steelhead runs, spring and fall Chinook Salmon runs, resident cutthroat trout and the wonderful Sea Run Cutthroat trout. With a quick glance at the charts on page 32, I can learn that the month of February will be good, not best or slow, for winter steelhead using a wet fly swung deep, lightly weighted nymphs, nymphs under an indicator or a deep drifted fly. I also know that the wading can be difficult, there are shuttles to get me back to my car, if I launch my pontoon boat it can be a difficult river and the water clarity recovers fast. If your fishing any Pacific Northwest rivers, finding out how quickly the water clears after a month of heavy rain or snow melt is extremely important. Getting that information probably took me three seconds.

Though I really enjoy Washington River Maps and Fishing Guide and think it should be a part of your Washington fishing library, there are some things I miss. After 23 years in the Army I can look at a topographical map and tell a lot about a river by the surrounding contour lines (those brown lines that tell you the elevation). Having that feature would have been nice, but when a large river is featured on one page, including contour lines would have only cluttered up a clear, concise map.

Washington River Maps and Fishing Guide won't tell you what size and type fly to tie on your tippet, or what rock to stand on, but it will get you headed in the right direction and save many hours of bushwhacking to find that certain spot on Washington's rivers.

One small bit of useful information. I've stopped into a couple of local fly shops and they can't keep this book on the shelves. I suggest you have your fly shop hold a copy for you or order direct from Frank Amato Publications. ~ REE

Washington River Maps and Fishing Guide
By Frank Amato Publications
P.O. Box 82112
Portland, OR 97282
Softbound, 11 x 15 inches, 48 pages, full color
ISBN: 1-57188-367-3
Price: $25.00 US

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