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The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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The Vanishing Trout by Dr. Charles Lose

Certainly there is no shortage of literature on fishing and flyfishing. Many gifted writers have turned their talents to both the beauties and practicalities of fishing; yet Dr. Charles Lose is one of the few whose work has been largely ignored. Originally penned in the 1920?s this work was merely a batch of short stories he wrote while living in Altoona, PA. However after his death in 1931, his manuscript was found and published by Henry W. Shoemaker of McElhattan, PA. (My edition is the sole 1993 Gateway Press reprint.)

Dr. Lose was one of the fore-front environmentalists on behalf of Pennsylvania’s trout. Shockingly enough, his outcry for the protection of our fisheries came at a time when environmental matters were a moot point in Penn’s Woods. In his lifetime he saw the demise of our old growth forests from the timber barons, the scarring land-rape from the coal mining companies, and even the “slob” practices of over-harvest from anglers. Sounds familiar even now in 2011, doesn’t it?

Take away timber barons and coal mining and replace with gas drilling and loss of fishery habitat. (The slob anglers horde remains the same). This was a book authored well before its time, but yet so everlasting a message for the protection of our fisheries. I would go so far as to include The Vanishing Trout in the same class as such cornerstones of the fishing literature as Ray Bergman’s, Trout, Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler, and Alfred Ronalds’ The Fly-Fisher’s Entomology.

As Dr. Lose himself observes, his life occurred during that in-between era of history, which saw the last of the so-called “old-fashioned ways” typified by stateliness, Victorian values, and a slower pace of life. That culture was supplanted by the beginnings of the modern era, characterized by scientific and technological advances and the environmental consequences (both good and bad) thereof. This bridging or blending of eras has a curious effect on his writing. The Victorian literary style is clear throughout, yet his approaches are clearly influencedAnother aspect of The Vanishing Trout that has helped its longevity is that it appeals to the thinking angler. He prose took me back to an earlier time when things were simple and beautiful. I have read several chapters over and have found something new each time I read and re-read this book. Much of his storylines take place on our famed Loyalsock Creek and deal with fishing for our Commonwealth’s native son, the Brook Trout. The premise of most of his stories can be attributed to his powers of observation and deduction, and he clearly communicates the value of these. By encouraging the reader to follow the dictates of his own reasoning than simply after the crowds or conventional wisdom, he strikes a chord in the intellectual snob lurking in all of us.

I loved this book and would suggest that any worthy FF'er pick up this book. I guarantee that it will remain one of your favorites.

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Posted on: 2011/11/5 15:48


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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2010/6/19 16:43
From Clinton County, Pa.
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I own a copy and must agree with you it is a GOOD read for any flyfisherman.

Posted on: 2011/11/5 22:36
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Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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2008/1/21 13:28
From South Central PA
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Thanks. Well done on the review, and a nice touch with the photographs. I'll have to keep an eye out for a copy or go interlibrary.

Posted on: 2011/11/6 7:57


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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I agree that this is really a wonderful book, a nice look back at the way things were in n/c PA. If you can find it and read it, you will certainly not be disappointed.

Posted on: 2011/11/9 17:37


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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2006/9/18 16:54
From Oxford, Chester Co., PA
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I have an original copy and have read it several times. His pontification is at times a bit tiresome, but I completely understand his motivation. My favorite piece is probably "The 'Sang Hunter", his memoir of an old-time mountain man, but Lose's account of his trip down the Middle Creek with two companions is a clear window into a long-passed era of Pennsylvania trout fishing and fisherman. I highly recommend this book.

Posted on: 2011/11/15 20:23


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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2007/3/24 2:29
From Luzerne County, PA
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This one is now on my "got to read" list, thanks. I have a huge interest in the history of the Loyalsock region. Have anyone of you ever heard of "The Bag Puncher" ?

Posted on: 2011/11/16 5:49


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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Only when my wife kicks me in the figs.... then I call her the Bag Puncher.

Posted on: 2011/11/17 16:17
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Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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I'm uber familiar with the 'Sock since it's in my "backyard" of fishing locales. However, in Dr. Loses' book he references a lot of "holes" by olde-timey as heyull names... I wish I knew which holes he was talking about... since the hole-naming has changed over the last 100 years. I know of the Whistle-Pig Pool, Million-Dollar Hole, Susquehanna Salmon Pool (named for the walleye caught out of there in 1984), "The Swimming Pool" at the park (sometimes the No Fishing signs get knocked down), Kayak Hole, The Junction Hole (lil 'sock and big 'sock), The Bridge Pool at Forksville... any of you guys got any names for these places?

Posted on: 2011/11/17 16:23
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Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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I recall Lose mentioning catching huge brookies just below a massive timber crib dam on the Loyalsock. I wonder if any remnant of this structure exists today, and if so, where it might be.

Posted on: 2011/11/17 16:38


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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2009/1/11 23:54
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I would like to get a copy of this book.

PS:
The picture was taken on Elk Creek with steelhead run.

Attach file:



jpg  Elk_Creek_Folly's_End_November.jpg (189.76 KB)
2007_4ec72d8ac90de.jpg 900X443 px

Posted on: 2011/11/18 23:16


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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From North Central PA
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That hole looks like the same hole that is above the bend of the Legion Hole.

Posted on: 2011/11/20 10:08
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Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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2008/6/25 12:40
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Great review, jjsjigs. I can't say enough good things about this book. I'd put this up in the top five or so of the Great Works of writing about angling. What keeps it off most anglers' radars is what makes it so good for Pennsylvania anglers--it is somewhat specific to this part of the world.

I finally obtained a copy of this from the Liberty Book Shop in Avis, PA. It wasn't horrendously expensive, but it is the most expensive book I've bought since graduate school.

It's a good non-academic review of the ecological degradation brought about in Penn's Woods. The hand of man is everywhere even when this book is set.

One thing I love to ponder is how it used to be possible to put a boat on a train, accompany said boat on said train, stop the train and launch boat, float & fish for three days, and be home before the following weekend. Well that's one of the many things this book has brought to mind. 20" brookies are also nice to ponder.

Posted on: 2012/4/22 5:58


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review
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Great review - thanks.

I really need to get a copy of this book.

Posted on: 2012/4/22 8:53


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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Anyone can read the book, for free, by just contacting your local library, and getting it through inter-library loan.

I've got to read some obscure fishing books this way, including books about the early days of brook trout fishing in the Adirondacks, and in West Virginia.

So, they can surely locate Vanishing Trout. I know that some libraries in PA have it.

Posted on: 2012/4/23 7:49


Re: The Vanishing Trout - a book review

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2008/3/11 9:40
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Quote:

troutbert wrote:
Anyone can read the book, for free, by just contacting your local library, and getting it through inter-library loan. ....


I hope so. I checked Amazon and they are selling used hardcover for $75 and unknown binding for $59.95 to $158.24

The Vanishing Trout: A Study of Trout and ...

I'll check with the Bucks County Public Library.

Posted on: 2012/5/3 18:03



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