Book Review: Casting Forward by Steve Ramirez

A touching collection of stories from a fresh perspective
Photo: Steve Ramirez

Reviewing books is, at its easiest, daunting. While I’ve been writing professionally for the better part of a decade now, I don’t always feel qualified to critique the work of others. And that’s the problem facing me right now. Steve Ramirez’s new book Casting Forward is the freshest collection of fishing stories I’ve read in years. The writing is both tight and flowing — much like the rivers in his beloved Texas Hill Country that Ramirez so tangibly describes.

The largest dam removal project in history is set to move forward, again

A newly reached agreement aims to alleviate regulators' concerns and allow Klamath River dam removal as soon as 2023
The John C. Boyle dam on the Klamath River (photo: Bobjgalindo / cc2.0).

More than a century ago, the Klamath River was home to the third largest run of Chinook salmon in the continental United States. These seasonal runs of fish historically numbered in the hundreds of thousands. But today, more than 100 years after the first dam went up on the Klamath, those runs that once seemed inexhaustible are almost gone. Last year, fewer than 700 chinook salmon returned to the Klamath. Just two years prior, dismal returns forced officials to close salmon fishing season entirely.

The plight of the Gila trout

Deep in the New Mexico desert, amongst Anasazi ruins and rough, wild country lurks the rarest of the rare
A Gila trout (photo: Chris Hunt).

Huddled as close to the fallen tree as we could get, Kirk and I looked at each other, our eyes wide with surprise and a touch of fear. The bullet had missed us by a wide margin, but the fact that we could hear it as it zinged overhead after the ricochet was unnerving.

"Wait for him to reload," Kirk said. "Then we'll get over that little rise and out of range."

Review: Hardy Ultralite LL fly rod

Is the new Euro-focused Ultralite LL also one of the best all-around performers Hardy has ever made?
Photo: Spencer Durrant

Hardy has revamped its entire rod lineup for 2020, replacing nearly everything they offered in 2019. Among the most anticipated new offerings is the Hardy Ultralite LL rod. This is the same rod that Hardy’s head designer Howard Croston used to win the 2020 FIPS World Championship. Euro-nymphing is the name of the game in the World Championships, and that’s exactly what the Ultralite LL was designed for. It’s an outrageously light, sensitive stick built to handle fish big and small.

Tyrant of the lakes

A one-of-a-kind catch in a one-of-a-kind place
Photo: Chris Hunt

Salvelinus namaycush. Tyrant of the lakes.

At the time, it was my nemesis. My fly fishing Ark of the Covenant. My angling El Dorado. As I stood on the banks of the Otherside River lining up the photo of the big fish, I felt a noticeable weight lift off my shoulders. The rain, for just a few minutes, stopped. A beam of sunshine poked through the low ceiling of clouds and I felt as though I'd just accomplished something nobody else on earth had ever done.

Truth be told, I probably did. But that's for later in this tale.