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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.

Can You Keep A Secret  Department

After much urging from hundreds (okay, a dozen maybe) people, Jim has a new book coming out in spring 2022. Here's the scoop.

Trout Tracks
Essays on Fly Fishing

Drawn from 55 years of excessive obsession with trout, water, streams and flies, this collection of essays from Canada’s most widely read fly-fishing author since Roderick Haig-Brown reveals the depth of engagement that this sport engenders. His poised and polished words reveal the flaws and virtues of humanity, the strength of Mother Nature, the beautiful mystery that is a wild trout, and the obsessed’s inexplicable need to outsmart a creature with a brain the size of a pea.

Fly fishing is considered to be perhaps the most reflective and graceful of outdoor pursuits, and author Jim McLennan agrees - for the most part. In Trout Tracks are pieces on fly-fishing people and fly-fishing places, stories of quiet successes and louder failures, in sum revealing the soul of “the quiet sport.”

You won’t learn to cast farther or tie a knot faster, but if you’ve fly fished, or if you want to, you’ll smile and understand more clearly the seduction of wild trout in wild places.

Trout Tracks will be available in spring, 2022. If you'd like to
pre-order a signed copy, send us an email.

NOTE:   This course is underway and is being recorded. It will be available for purchase in the coming months.

Send us an email for details

Living And Writing The Outdoor Life

Jim has taught a number of outdoor writing clinics/workshops over the years and there is a new one coming in November, done in conjunction with April Vokey’s Anchored Outdoors platform (anchored The course is called “Living and Writing the Outdoor Life,” and will take place via Zoom, six Tuesday evenings beginning Nov. 2. It will be an inter-active event with discussion among all participants. We’ll work together to write, re-write, and edit our work. Here are some of the topics that will be covered:

Philosophy of short non-fiction

Parts of an article

The “Four Cs” of Writing

How to get started

Common errors and traps

The grunt work: re-writing, editing, polishing

Keeping editors happy

Selling your work

The cost for the six 90-minute sessions is $397 (US), and along with it you’ll get lifetime access to the recording of the workshop, plus a membership in Anchored Outdoors, and access to a very detailed photography masterclass with acclaimed outdoor photographer, Brian Gregson.
You can find all the details, including how to register, here:

Current Books Available

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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.

What's the big deal about 

fly fishing?

Read Jim's story from
April Vokey's website.

 Magazine Articles by Jim McLennan

Watch for Jim's stories in the following magazines:


Fly Fisherman

June-July 2021 issue

The Migration: Desecrating the Crown (of the Continent)


FlyFusion Magazine :  Volume 18 Issue 3

Water Marks Column by Jim McLennan

How to Defile a Wilderness


2021 Alberta Fishing Guide

Detailed Directions to the Lakes, Ponds,

Rivers and Streams of Alberta

Feature Article by Jim McLennan

Taking the Fly-Fishing Plunge


strung magazine
The UPLAND ISSUE: now available

First and Last by Jim McLennan

Photos by Lynda McLennan



Oct. - Dec. 2020 Issue

Requiem for Hatch Matching by Jim McLennan

Illustrations by Al Hassall


Fly Fusion

Volume 17: Issue IV

Water Marks Column by Jim McLennan:  Memory and Selectivity


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