Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review: "An Entirely Synthetic Fish" by Anders Halverson

I think most fly fisherman would generally agree that the reason the remaining naturally reproducing native trout species have been relegated in their native ranges to only the most remote headwaters and out of the way streams is due to stocking practices and, to a lesser degree, habitat degradation (I also think that most fisheries biologists would agree with them). However, aside from the obvious reason that they were trying providing more catchable fish for the angling public, I’m not sure most fly fisherman have really thought too deeply about how it came to be that the very administrators and scientists entrusted by the public to watch over our resources, had, for more than a century, determined that breeding and planting hatchery raised rainbow trout as far and wide as possible was in the public’s best interest. In his new book, An Entirely Synthetic Fish, Anders Halverson not only explores the history of hatchery rainbow trout, but he also provides enlightening insight and analysis into the thoughts and motivations of the key players in their ascension to become the world’s most ubiquitous and synthetic fish.

In a time of heightened interest in biodiversity and concomitant movement toward the preservation and restoration of native species, those of us that are keenly interested in native trout will do well to read this book. If, for no other reason, than to gain a sense of humility, and, perhaps, some restraint, as we cavalierly charge forth in the support of reestablishing native trout in their native ranges. Having read this book, one can’t help but to examine their positions critically and to ask themselves: is it possible that future generations will look back and wonder how it is that we didn’t realize the unintended damage being levied as a derivative of our actions...despite our good intentions?

Learn more about the book and where you can get a copy here: An Entirely Synthetic Fish


  1. I can't wait to get a copy of this book. Gosh I need to find out where Anders got all of those photos! Looks like a fantastic read.

  2. Yeah, the supplemental information Anders shares on his website is awesome. Some really great pictures there.