Book review: A steelheader’s way, by Lani Waller

A steelheader's way - coverHere comes a unique book about steelhead fly-fishing, written by a man who has dedicated his life to that anadromous fish so special to many of us. Lani Waller is not only a great angler; he is also a fantastic story teller and poet. His words are genuine; they surface naturally from a philosophy of life that he has built over the years along the rivers of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, to name a few. Many of Lani’s tales emerge from his many hours spent in the Skeena River basin, the Mecca of steelheading, and more precisely on the Babine River, so dear to him, and where he almost lost his life.

In this book, Lani goes through all interesting aspects of our sport: gear, tackle, flies, techniques, and more importantly how to read the water and how to present your fly to the fish. There is especially a very interesting section about why a steelhead takes a fly. That helps you understand why steelhead react like they do, makes you think like one, and will let you know how to present your fly according to the given situation.

Lani Waller with an impressive steelheadBob Hooton’s section about the biology of the fish at the beginning of the book was an eye opener to me; I learned a great deal about the steelhead’s life cycle that I didn’t had a clue about before, and I found it very enriching and original in such a book. Lani’s last section about conservation is also of prime importance in this book. We do need to act now in order to keep up the nature’s resources to their vital levels; otherwise we will soon speak about the steelhead as a species of the past. Do we want to tell our grand-children stories about such a majestic creature that is no longer of this planet?

The book is illustrated with beautiful photographs taken by my friend Ken Morrish, who has a gift for photo composition. I can assure you, he is also a sharp angler, and probably as nuts as it gets about steelhead fly-fishing!

If you are a steelhead enthousiast like me, I highly recommend you read A steelheader’s way. And, well, if you aren’t yet a steelhead junkie, I bet you will be pushed to become one after you’ve digested Lani’s words and Kenny’s pictures.