BOOK REVIEW: “The Habits of Trout and Other Unsolved Mysteries” by Tim Schulz

While packing for a recent Florida fishing trip, I tossed my Kindle into my duffle bag along with more clothes than I had any right to be taking for seven days. I took the e-reader in case the weather kept us holed up in the beach house for any length of time, or for those nights when my brain won’t shut off and I lie awake until two in the morning wondering if snails can fart or some other insanely ridiculous thought that delays my slumber.

The weather did, as luck would have it, cooperate for fishing but there was a night or two when sleep seemed to escape me, and I read until my eyelids came to be heavier than a pair of old tractor tires. My book of choice for those restless nights was “The Habits of Trout and Other Unsolved Mysteries” by Michigan resident, Tim Schulz. Here is the book’s description, taken from that infamous website that is named after a monstrously huge river in South America…

“The Habits of Trout is a collection of essays about fishing for the things in life that are hard to catch, hard to hold, and–ultimately–hard to let go. Trout, Tim Schulz reminds us in this book, are but one of those things. Through his clear-headed, big-hearted, smart, funny, honest and fresh stories, Schulz shows us that in life in general–and trout fishing in particular–we sometimes need to be grounded by the humility of failure so we can be lifted by the hope of success.

Beginning with a quest to explore the rugged backwoods environs where John Voelker found an abundance of wild trout and a dearth of crowds, Tim Schulz shares his love of family, friends, wild trout and bamboo rods in a collection of essays and yarns set in Michigan’s wild Upper Peninsula. With a tinge of self-deprecating humor and wit, Schulz shows how fishing can help you grow older without growing up, and scattered throughout his stories are some lessons that just might make you a better fisherman which, in turn, might help you catch the biggest brook trout of your life . . . twice.”

The online description hit the nail on the head, and I don’t feel I can add much to it. Mr. Schulz does indeed write in a way that puts the reader right beside him in the river while watching the details unfold, or around a smoky evening campfire with a glass of bourbon on ice as he tells the tale of the day’s events on the water. As I read, I could almost feel the cool water from the trout stream seep through the minute hole in my waders. Short stories like the many found in this book are my absolute favorite type of reading and I have no doubt whatsoever that readers will rank this book up there close to the writings of John Gierach, the master of fly fishing related written pose himself.

“The Habits of Trout” was published in 2018 by the UPTROUT Press and is 150 pages of excellent reading. It can be found from online retailers in either e-book or paperback form and is well worth the price for the quality of writing contained within. At the time of this writing, the e-book version is $7.99, and the paperback is $12.99 from Amazon but can be found on Barnes & Noble and others as well. Trust me when I say, you’ll enjoy this one. See you on the water.

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