How many fishing spots have you already fished and which of them is your favorite?
Today, we’re joined by David Van Wie, who’s widely known for writing a monthly column for the Maine Sportsman Magazine, publishing feature articles in Northern Woodlands Magazine and the Maine Sunday Telegram, and the co-author of The Confluence – a collection of essays, art and tall tales about fly fishing and friendship.
Click below and listen to the Famous Fly Fishing Rivers Podcast with David Van Wie:
(Read the Full Transcript at the Bottom of this Blog Post)
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Fabled Fly Fishing Rivers
In this episode, David shares how he fished his way from Maine to Wisconsin and Michigan and back. He has fished 35 different places for six weeks, traveled over 5000 miles, and wrote about it day after day. David and I talked about the wonderful experiences he’s had and the places he’s been since he embarked on his remarkable journey. His story is unlike any fishing stories you’ve heard before!
David eventually turned this amazing journey into a book called, Storied Waters, which was inspired by one of his heroes, John Voelker a.k.a. Robert Traver.
Timestamps for this episode
[3:13] How David got into fly fishing and writing
[5:27] David wrote his first book, The Confluence with six college friends
[7:43] Why David decided to take a 5000 mile trip
[11:46] Remarkable experiences and challenges during the trip
[13:37] When David met Grace and Woody in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
[20:02] David talked more about the book and the places he fished
[23:32] Writers associated with the Bat n’ Kill
[28:41] What the Hudson River is like 50 years ago
[29:54] The difference between the Ausable and the AuSable River
[33:39] The question that put David on the spot
[44:10] The best place to get David’s book
[46:23] David’s take in general about the 6 week trip
You can find David at https://www.watchyourbackcast.com/
Storied Waters, published by Stackpole Books in 2019, is part travelogue, part literary history, part natural history and part fishing porn. The book recounts my epic six-week odyssey to visit fabled fly fishing destinations mentioned in literature, from Maine to Wisconsin and Michigan and back, with quotes and excerpts from dozens of writers and over 80 beautiful color photos. You can buy the book, in paperback or digital format, from your favorite bookstore or on-line retailer. Better yet, you can buy a signed copy directly from me by clicking here.
Here’s what they are saying about Storied Waters:
This book reminds me of George Tapply’s “invisible writing” in that when reading the book you don’t feel as if you are at home sitting in your favorite chair in your library or den. Instead you are having a conversation with the author as you travel together toward the next destination. The narrative created clear images in my mind of the waters and surroundings as well as the people he encountered. I felt I was sharing his adventure with him and felt the relief of finally arriving back home to familiar scenes and surroundings and of course loved ones whom were greatly missed over the previous six weeks. You feel richer for the experience.
“Storied Waters” has the added attraction of the “Where and How” side bars in nearly chapter which gives the readers an inside edge on what to expect and where to go for reliable information. This book is more than worth the price of admission. It’s on my annual reading list. – Steven Becker, Goodreads Review, March 2020
A rich and entertaining account of the author’s fly fishing odyssey across the northeast into the midwest, Storied Waters brings the history of many famous streams alive, transporting the reader to historical times and linking back to the present. Outstanding photography and illustrations of the famous authors capture the essence of the experience. The book will be of interest not only to fly fishers but also conservationists and fans of good travel writing.
– Kevin McJunkin, Amazon review
Storied Waters hits the mark! Van Wie’s detailed itinerary is the driving force to make this book work over his long, 6-week travel/meet/photograph/fish adventure. His visits to hallowed fishing spots of the likes of Robert Traver, Louise Dickinson Rich, Henry Thoreau and Dud Dean bring you right to their shorelines with fly rod in hand. It’s historical, sometimes humorous, filled with fishing advice and a fun read for any fly angler.
– HLW, Amazon review
Tracking the spirits of great US writers in the outdoor settings they wrote about, while casting a fly on the waters that they fished – now that’s my idea of a fine excuse to travel. This is a great read that captures the feel of such a trip, as the author recounts his 5,000 miles of tracing the legacy of American writers like Thoreau and Hemingway. His writing is friendly and intelligent, and his love of fly fishing and deep respect for nature shows through in every chapter. I enjoyed learning about the history and geology of places I had read about in stories like Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River, and felt like I got to know the current residents (human and fish) of those locations with a great guide.
– Pamela, Amazon review
Conclusion with David Van Wie
The journey of the Storied Waters began when David, along with his co-authors, wanted to reprint John Voelker’s classic passage “Testament of a Fisherman” in a chapter of their book, The Confluence, so they had to ask permission from the family who owns the copyright.
David reached out to Voelker’s daughter, Grace V. Wood, who generously allowed them to reprint the passage. Grace invited David to fish at Frenchman’s Pond, her father’s favorite – and famously secret – fishing spot near his (and her) home on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that appears in many of Voelker’s stories from the 1950s and 60s. So instead of flying to Michigan, David fished his way there from Maine and the rest is history.