Trout Streams of the Heart

Chad Hanson


Forging a bond with rugged places and wild creatures, casting to brook trout, or reflecting on the forces that compel people to fly fish, Chad Hanson proves himself a formidable guide.


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Forging a bond with rugged places and wild creatures, casting to brook trout, or reflecting on the forces that compel people to flyfish, Chad Hanson proves himself a formidable guide. In prose that is wise and observant, he brings us stories of travel, adventure, and concern for the state of the environment. Hanson climbs to the tops of peaks, hikes to the bottoms of canyons, and finds himself lost in snow at high elevation—terrain that is more than geographic and just as exhilarating. Trout Streams of the Heart offers nature lovers—anglers and non-fishers alike—a provocative foray into our relationship with the natural world.

Fly fishing is the thread that binds this luminous collection of essays together. Trout Streams of the Heart is fly fishing plus everything meaningful that surrounds it, if we are paying attention to our lives. And even if we are not, Chad Hanson is. This is writing of the first order—perceptive, colorful, wide ranging, informed, and best of all knowing and wise.

—Robert DeMott,
Afield: American Writers on Fly Fishing

Chad Hanson’s patient descriptions of nature and the North American landscape, filled with all those views of Wyoming’s khaki-colored prairies, are reminiscent of Annie Dillard and Elizabeth Bishop. This collection is a call for help, perhaps even a call to action. Wild places in the West are vanishing. We need these wild places, if only to remind us of untouched beauty, the power of water, the connectiveness of the living, and we especially need these wild kingdoms to remind us that we are not, in fact, the center of the universe.

—Margaret McMullan, author of
In My Mother’s House

Like all good fly fishers, Chad Hanson takes a lively interest in the natural world around him. When his curiosity takes him to small streams searching for unique fishing opportunities, his questions are not how many or how big, but how and why. His hikes to remote spots and his thoughts along the way can be as compelling as his time on the river itself. As a result, his essays will appeal to a wide audience, even to those who have never wet a line.

—Frank Soos, author of Bamboo Fly Rod Suite

In Trout Streams of the Heart, Chad Hanson offers us a moving meditation on the beauties of trout, the places we find them, and our poignant desire to fool them for moments of grace—and mercy—in our short uncertain lives.

—Scott Sadil, author of Fly Tales



1. When We Were Trout
2. Consider the Sturgeon
3. Brown Trout, Panthiests, and Me
4. Take a Picture
5. The Scent of a Canyon
6. Call the Wild by Its Name
7. Tenkara
8. An Imaginary Fish
9. The Last Flight of the Yellowstone Cutthroat
10. Brook Trout and the Music of Lawrence Welk
11. The Choreography of Paint Rock Creek
12. The Art of Sloth
13. A Field Guide to the Trout Stream in Your Heart

About the Author


Chad Hanson divides his time between Casper, Wyoming and the Red Feather Lakes region of Colorado. He serves as Chairman of the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Casper College, and he contributes to a wide range of scientific and literary publications.

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It is a pleasure to follow along on Hanson's journey as he fishes his way through life, picking out the tricky middle way between the quest for the sublime and learning to live with the mundane....[Hanson] has done us all a great favor by describing the journey with grace and elegance in these 13 essays.

—Charlotte M. Freeman, Montana Quarterly,
Spring 2014