In planning a fishing trip, what do you think of? For many, the answer is a place far away. This is partly due to the decline of local rivers and streams over the 20th century, and partly due to fly fishing’s affinity for adventure and for beauty, a pair most often found out there and not right here.
How refreshing it is, then, to discover a fishing destination close to home. This discovery is what the best of Ron Lasko’s book, A Tale of Two Rivers, provides.
The book focuses on two of Cape Cod’s rivers — the Mashpee and the Quashnet. While Cape Cod is already a destination for many fly fishermen, it’s fair to say that most are headed for salt, not fresh, water. The waters off Cape Cod — from the canal to the lighthouse — are famous for their striper and blues fishing. According to Lasko, you can add another species to that list: sea run brook trout.
Though greatly diminished from their historic runs, Lasko documents in great detail this fish’s presence on Cape Cod. And though his work is focused on fishing the Mashpee and Quashnet, his book covers everything from early Massachusetts history to contemporary environmental issues, about which Lasko is passionate.
This latter point is one on which I could not agree with him more: his calls to protect our environment are earnest and repeated, especially as he points out their future is in doubt. He writes:
“In spite of some recent hopeful signs I still fear for the future of these little rivers and their unique sea run brook trout. My hope is that they will be here for future generations to enjoy these waters and their speckled inhabitants. / They have no voice. They can not speak for themselves. Only we can speak for them. / May there be no end to their story.”
This is a statement that could be made of many fish species, and many rivers. The statement is all the more powerful as a consequence. It is the rare trout fisherman that would not nod in agreement.
Lasko’s taste is strongly for bamboo, Barbour, and Balvenie, which may be off-putting to readers who don’t share these preferences, or for those who prefer GoreTex, graphite, and a Geary’s. However, the book is at its best when it reveals that which has been under our noses, in need of our attention, and worthy of our protection.
(Note 1/8/14: I did not mention this upon first publishing this review, but Lasko’s environmental calls go so far to be opposed to Cape Wind project. I know the troublesome politics here, but it did strike me as an inconsistency.)
And another here: