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Anders Halverson provides an exhaustively researched and grippingly rendered account of the rainbow trout and why it has become the most commonly stocked and controversial freshwater fish in the United States. Discovered in the remote waters of northern California, rainbow trout have been artificially propagated and distributed for more than 130 years by government officials eager to present Americans with an opportunity to get back to nature by going fishing. Proudly dubbed an entirely synthetic fish by fisheries managers, the rainbow trout has been introduced into every state and province in the United States and Canada and to every continent except Antarctica, often with devastating effects on the native fauna. Halverson examines the paradoxes and reveals a range of characters, from nineteenth-century boosters who believed rainbows could be the saviors of democracy to twenty-first-century biologists who now seek to eradicate them from waters around the globe. Ultimately, the story of the rainbow trout is the story of our relationship with the natural world--how it has changed and how it startlingly has not.
The angler's dream of fishing pristine waters in unspoiled country for sleek, healthy trout has turned fishing into a form of theater. It is a manufactured experienceÑmuch to the detriment of our rivers and streams. AmericansÕ love of trout has reached a level of fervor that borders on the religious. Federal and state agencies, as well as nongovernmental lobbying groups, invest billions of dollars on river restoration projects and fish-stocking programs. Yet, their decisions are based on faulty logic and risk destroying species they are tasked with protecting. River ecosystems are modified with engineered structures to improve fishing, native species that compete with trout are eradicated, and nonnative invasive game fish are indiscriminately introduced, genetically modified, and selectively bred to produce more appealing targets for anglersÑincluding the freakishly contrived "golden trout." The Quest for the Golden Trout is about looking at our nationÕs rivers with a more critical eyeÑand asking more questions about both historic and current practices in fisheries management.
Aldo Leopold was known to advocate a love of sport as a catalyst for conservation, and his own preference was the sport of fly fishing. But fly fishing is not just a religious or spiritual endeavour. It is also a sport essential to the conservation movement. No fly fisherman wishes to wade into rivers full of stormwater, to cast for invasive Asian carp. Freshwater anglers have been foundational to the preservation and management of freshwater fisheries and waters for centuries. To Leopold s land ethic, fly fishing adds an aquatic vitality. Surveys of fly fishing culture reveal that the sport ranks among the highest for experiences of nature and understanding of ecology. So, it s not surprising that fly fishing, and organizations like Trout Unlimited, has influenced fisheries management, conservation, and restoration in coldwater systems across the world. Backcasts reels these important topics in by exploring the intersection of conservation and fly fishing, in its history, present, and potential future."
Each year wild Pacific salmon leave their oceanic feeding grounds and swim hundreds of miles back to their home rivers. The salmon's annual return is a place-defining event in the Pacific Northwest, with immense ecological, economic, and social significance. However, despite massive spending, efforts to significantly alter the endangered status of salmon have failed. In Salmon, People, and Place, acclaimed fisheries biologist Jim Lichatowich eloquently exposes the misconceptions underlying salmon management and recovery programs that have fueled the catastrophic decline in Northwest salmon populations for more than a century. These programs will continue to fail, he suggests, so long as they regard salmon as products and ignore their essential relationship with their habitat. But Lichatowich offers hope. In Salmon, People, and Place he presents a concrete plan for salmon recovery, one based on the myriad lessons learned from past mistakes. What is needed to successfully restore salmon, Lichatowich states, is an acute commitment to healing the relationships among salmon, people, and place. A significant contribution to the literature on Pacific salmon, Salmon, People, and Place: A Biologist's Search for Salmon Recovery is an essential read for anyone concerned about the fate of this Pacific Northwest icon.

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