Jim McLennan

 Jim has been active as an outdoor writer for over 

40 years.  He is the author of four books on 

fly fishing and frequently contributes to 

numerous outdoor magazines, including 

Fly Fisherman

Fly Fusion
Gray's Sporting Journal
Outdoor Canada
Pheasants Forever Journal 
Pointing Dog Journal, 

The Alberta Fishing Guide  and more.

Living and Writing the Outdoor Life

Weekend Writing Workshop with Jim McLennan

When: Aug. 21-23, 2020

Where: York Creek B & B, Crowsnest Pass, AB

What: A weekend for new or aspiring writers, discussing what you need to know to write for magazines, blogs, websites, brochures, v-logs.
We'll talk about both the
why and the how of writing. Some topics will include
how to start, how to stop, writing an effective query letter,
understanding your market, the importance of re-writing, the importance of authenticity, and additional resources to use.

For whom? This weekend will be for people of any age who are interested in writing, and learning more about it. Time will be spent in the group, talking, discussing and learning from Jim. There will also be time allotted to the solitary aspect of writing, which is - well, writing. We'll critique, edit and re-write some words together.

For how many? Space is greatly limited in this event. If you're interested, please register as soon as possible. In the event it must be re-scheduled due to Covid-19,
we'll offer you a spot in the replacement weekend, a credit you can apply to
any of our events, or a refund.

Other details: This event will run in conjunction with a McLennan Fly Fishing School at the same location on the same weekend. Fly fishing participants and writing participants will eat together and have free time together if desired.
Writing participants will have Jim's sole attention for the weekend.

$855 plus GST, (double occupancy)

What's Included: two night's accommodation, meals from Friday evening to
Sunday lunch, all instructional materials

What's not included: travel, gratuities, alcohol

1 spot remaining

Send Jim an email to register or inquire

Current Books Available

Click this text to start editing. This block is a basic combination of a title and a paragraph. Use it to welcome visitors to your website, or explain a product or service without using an image. Try keeping the paragraph short and breaking off the text-only areas of your page to keep your website interesting to visitors.

Trout Streams of Alberta

Jim's best-selling book and a Canadian best seller, Trout Streams of Alberta is a winner of the 

Andy Russell Nature Writing Award. The book was out 

of print for a number of years, but is now available again in a revised, updated edition. 

Contains information on Alberta trout species, 

trout habitat and requirements and fly patterns. There is a chapter on each watershed in Alberta, highlighting the history, fish, fishing methods, and access. Includes colour photos and a hatch chart for each watershed.

Cost:  $26.00 Can. (including gst)

To purchase or inquire.

Water Marks

Thirty Years of Fly-Fishing Insight

Water Marks is a collection Jim's best writing between 1981 and 2006. Drawn from his magazine work 

in that period, there are essays on the 

Where, Why, How, and Who of fly fishing. 

Filled with colour photographs by 

Jim and Lynda McLennan

Cost:  $26.00 Can.  (including gst)

To purchase or inquire.

Current And Upcoming Magazine Articles

Watch for Jim's stories in the following magazines:

Fly Fusion
Volume 17: Issue III

Water Marks Column by Jim McLennan:  "Grandparents."


Alberta Fishing Guide 2020

Feature Article:   Things You Should Do... But Probably Don't

Cover photo:  Lynda McLennan

Story photos by Jim and Lynda McLennan


Pointing Dog Journal

Volume XXVIII Number 1 / Jan. / Feb. 2020

Western Wings by Jim McLennan

"Chickens" on the Western Canadian Prairie

Photography by Lynda McLennan


Fly Fusion

Volume 17 Issue II

Water Marks Column by Jim McLennan: "Why Do We Do It?"


Fly Fusion: 

Winter 2019 Issue 

Feature by Jim McLennan:  "Little Things"

Water Marks Column by Jim McLennan:  "Helpful Definitions"


Pointing Dog Journal

Vol. XXVI Number 2 March / April 2018

Dear Young Hunters by Jim McLennan, page 44

Photography by Jim and Lynda McLennan


Fly Fusion:  

Vol 15 Issue 3      Summer Issue 2019

Water Marks Column:   Jim's 12 Rules for Fishing with Seniors


Alberta Fishing Guide 2019

Feature:  Small Water Streamers

Photography by Jim and Lynda McLennan


Pointing Dog Journal

Jan. Feb. 2018

Photography by Jim and Lynda McLennan

in Steve Smith's story

'Stuff We Should - and Shouldn't - Do"


Fly Fusion
Vol. 15 Issue 2

Feature:   Strategies for the Successful Drifter

Water Marks Column:  The Little Things


Fly Fusion

Vol. 15 Issue 1

Water Marks Column:  "Fishing Lodges"



Fly Fusion:     "Water Marks" column in every issue

Alberta Fishing Guide:     "Tricks For Pressured Water"

Pointing Dog Journal:      "Love the One You're With"

Fly Fishing Western Trout Streams  Now available as e-book

Jim's book dealing with the types of fish, rivers, hatches and methods that are essential for fly fishing the rivers and streams of western North America in both the U.S. and Canada. It deals with freestone streams, tailwaters and spring creeks. There are hatch charts, fly photographs and discussions of essential tackle.

The print version has been unavailable for some time, but you can now get an electronic version. Visit your favourite source of e-books to get your copy.

For more information, send Jim an email.

Out of Print Books

Two other of Jim's books, Blue Ribbon Bow (Lone Pine, 1987) and

Fly Fishing Western Trout Streams (Stackpole 2003) are currently out of print. 

 You might find copies online, at used bookstores or at your nearest library.

Articles and Stories by Jim McLennan

Not Catching

By Jim McLennan

“The fishing was fine, but the catching was a little slow.” How many times have you heard that old saw after asking someone how the fishing’s been? While the answer may be both clever and accurate, it’s amazing how many people actually expect a day on the water to have little in the way of “catching.” But it doesn’t have to be that way—finding success is often as simple as knowing what it is you’re not doing. Here are five of the most common sins of omission.

1. NOT treating fish as wild animals

From a fish’s perspective, you are the predator and it is the prey. And since fear always trumps hunger, a fish will consider it a life-threatening situation if you suddenly appear on the scene. This explains the one rule of angling that can never be broken: If you scare fish, you won’t catch fish. So, don’t barge into their world with noise and commotion. Instead, approach the water slowly and quietly, doing everything you can to avoid alerting the fish to your presence. On moving water, this might mean approaching from downstream to stay behind the fish, out of their sight. On still water, it often means shutting off the motor early and rowing or paddling quietly into position before casting.

2. NOT using the proper presentation

Many anglers just grab a lure or fly that appeals to them, or one that worked the last time they were out, and start randomly firing it into the water. This is what makes fishing a hope-for-the-best proposition for so many people. But you can vastly improve your chances for success by first gathering some general information about your quarry’s habits and habitat, and supplementing it with specifics on what the fish are likely to be feeding on when you’’re on the water. By consulting magazines, books, DVDs, friends, fishing shops and the Internet, you can then make an informed decision about what fly to use, and where to use it.

3. NOT fishing deep enough

If the fish are feeding on the surface, you’ll know it by the disturbances they make. But if they’re not up top, it’s a safe bet they’re on the bottom. A general rule in fishing is to make it easy for the fish to eat what you’re offering, so if the fish are deep, do what you must to get your fly down into their dining room. You may need to use a heavier fly or add weight to your leader. Whatever the case, you’ll have far more success putting your offering right in front of the fish rather than expecting them to swim up through the water column to take it.

4. NOT paying attention to conditions

Water levels and clarity play a large role in determining where fish will be found and when they will feed. And because fish are cold-blooded, water temperature is the one factor that trumps nearly all others—fish feed very little if the water temperature is significantly above or below their happy zone. The weather also affects the behaviour of fish, as well as their prey. For example, certain aquatic creatures that trout eat are more active and available on cloudy days than on sunny ones. Remember, though, that weather and water conditions affect different species of fish in different ways, and a little research into this will pay dividends.

5. NOT switching things up

The worst thing an angler can do is stay in one spot for hours and repeat a method that’s ineffective. If what you’re doing isn’t working, change something. Try switching flies, or varying your retrieve or the depth you’re fishing at. You can even change your tactics altogether and move to a different part of the lake or stream. If the fish are going to respond to what you’re offering they’ll usually do so within your first few casts, or not at all. Long-term repetition rarely changes their minds. Trying something new, however, just might.

Illustration by Lynda McLennan